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Logo of straninfSexually Transmitted InfectionsCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
Sex Transm Infect. Feb 2003; 79(1): 62–64.
PMCID: PMC1744600

Social capital, poverty, and income inequality as predictors of gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia and AIDS case rates in the United States


Objective: This study examined the state level association between social capital, poverty, income inequality, and four infectious diseases that have important public health implications given their long term sequelae: gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, and AIDS.

Method: A state level, correlational analysis (including bivariate linear correlational analysis, and multivariate linear stepwise regression analysis) was carried out. 1999 state level rates of gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, and AIDS were the main outcome measures.

Results: In bivariate analyses, poverty was significantly correlated with chlamydia; income inequality was significantly correlated with chlamydia and AIDS case rates; and social capital was significantly correlated with all outcome measures. In stepwise multiple regression analyses, social capital was always the strongest predictor variable.

Conclusions: These results suggest that social capital is highly predictive of at least some infectious diseases. The results indicate the need for further research into this relation, and suggest the potential need for structural interventions designed to increase social capital in communities.

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