Send to

Choose Destination
Cult Health Sex. 2016;18(5):509-23. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2015.1096419. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

A social network typology and sexual risk-taking among men who have sex with men in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Author information

a Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health , Emory University , Atlanta , USA.
b Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Department of Epidemiology , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore , USA.
c Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences , University of Cape Town , Cape Town , South Africa.
d HIV/AIDS/STI and TB, Human Sciences Research Council , Port Elizabeth , South Africa.
e Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health , Emory University , Atlanta , GA , USA.
f Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences, School of Nursing, Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities , University of Michigan , Ann Arbor , USA.


Despite the high prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men in South Africa, very little is known about their lived realities, including their social and sexual networks. Given the influence of social network structure on sexual risk behaviours, a better understanding of the social contexts of men who have sex with men is essential for informing the design of HIV programming and messaging. This study explored social network connectivity, an understudied network attribute, examining self-reported connectivity between friends, family and sex partners. Data were collected in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, South Africa, from 78 men who have sex with men who participated in in-depth interviews that included a social network mapping component. Five social network types emerged from the content analysis of these social network maps based on the level of connectivity between family, friends and sex partners, and ranged from disconnected to densely connected networks. The ways in which participants reported sexual risk-taking differed across the five network types, revealing diversity in social network profiles. HIV programming and messaging for this population can greatly benefit from recognising the diversity in lived realities and social connections between men who have sex with men.


HIV/AIDS; Men who have sex with men; South Africa; networks; sexual risk

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center