Online Program

Social networks influence on HIV testing among young men in Tanzania

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Thespina Yamanis, PhD, School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC, DC
Ervin Dervisevic, MA, Department of Economics, American University, Washington, DC
Donaldson Conserve, PhD, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Clare Barrington, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Marta Mulawa, PhD, Duke Global Health Institute, Duke, Durham, NC
Lusajo Kajula-Maonga, MS, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Suzanne Maman, PhD, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background: Men in sub-Saharan Africa have low rates of HIV testing, with consequences including premature mortality and ongoing transmission. Social networks are an important source of influence on young men. We examine networks’ influence on HIV testing among young Tanzanian men.

 Methods: Data come from the baseline survey of a cluster randomized controlled HIV prevention trial with young men recruited through 48 networks called “camps” in Dar es Salaam. Each participant identified all camp members known to him, and, among those, who were friends. We used reconstruction to impute missing friendship ties. We examined whether a respondent was in the “core”, a network sub-group in which actors are maximally connected.  We also assessed whether one or more of a respondent’s closest friends encouraged testing. To measure normative behavior, we included whether the proportion of camp members who ever tested was higher than the all-camp median (52%).  We used random effects logistic regression to model factors associated with self-reported ever HIV testing among sexually active men.

 Results: Among 972 men (average age = 27), 51% reported ever having HIV tested. Men in the core were 1.35 times more likely (95% CI: 0.99 – 1.83) to have tested. If at least one friend encouraged testing, compared to none, men were 1.82 times more likely to have tested (1.37-2.43). Men were twice as likely to have tested if it was a normative camp behavior (1.56-2.76). 

Conclusions:  Interventions that leverage network position, relationships and norms may increase men’s uptake of HIV testing in Tanzania.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe associations between social network characteristics and HIV testing behavior among young men in Tanzania

Keyword(s): Youth, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an HIV/AIDS prevention researcher with a specialty in youth and Tanzania. I have a PhD and years of experience conducting research in the realm of HIV.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 5106.0: HIV/AIDS in Africa