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Public Health Rep. 2010 Jul-Aug;125(4):588-95.

The positive role of social networks and social networking technology in the condom-using behaviors of homeless young people.

Author information

1
University of Southern California, School of Social Work, Los Angeles, CA, USA. ericr@usc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the impact of condom-using peers in the social networks of homeless young people, differences in behaviors were assessed based on the social location of ties (home-based vs. street-based) and how those ties are maintained (face-to-face vs. via social networking technology).

METHODS:

"Ego-centric" social network data were collected from 103 currently sexually active homeless young people aged 16-26 years in Los Angeles, California. Associations between condom use and the condom-using behaviors of social network influences were assessed using standard logistic regression.

RESULTS:

About 52% of respondents had a street-based peer who was a condom user. Having such a peer was associated with a 70% reduction in the odds of having unprotected sex at last intercourse. About 22% of respondents had a condom-using, home-based peer with whom they communicated only via social networking technology. Having such a peer was associated with a 90% reduction in risky sexual behavior and a 3.5 times increase in safer sex behavior.

CONCLUSION:

The study revealed several implications for new human immunodeficiency virus-prevention interventions that mobilize these networks and social networking technologies.

PMID:
20597459
PMCID:
PMC2882610
DOI:
10.1177/003335491012500414
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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