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AIDS Behav. 2017 Apr;21(4):1183-1207. doi: 10.1007/s10461-016-1413-y.

Social Network Strategies to Address HIV Prevention and Treatment Continuum of Care Among At-risk and HIV-infected Substance Users: A Systematic Scoping Review.

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Department of Geography and Institute for Collaboration on Health Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut, 215 Glenbrook Road, AUST 421, U-4148, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA.
Department of Communication, University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY, USA.
Section of Infectious Diseases in AIDS Program, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University-Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Centre of Excellence on Research in AIDS (CERiA), University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Social network analysis (SNA) and social network-based interventions (SNI) are important analytical tools harnessing peer and family influences critical for HIV prevention and treatment among substance users. While SNA is an effective way to measure social network influences, SNI directly or indirectly involves network members in interventions. Even though these methods have been applied in heterogeneous ways, leading to extensive evidence-based practices, systematic reviews are however, lacking. We searched five bibliographic databases and identified 58 studies involving HIV in substance users that had utilized SNA or SNI as part of their methodology. SNA was used to measure network variables as inputs in statistical/mathematical models in 64 % of studies and only 22 % of studies used SNI. Most studies focused on HIV prevention and few addressed diagnosis (k = 4), care linkage and retention (k = 5), ART adherence (k = 2), and viral suppression (k = 1). This systematic review highlights both the advantages and disadvantages of social network approaches for HIV prevention and treatment and gaps in its use for HIV care continuum.


HIV care continuum; HIV prevention; Social network analysis; Social network intervention; Substance users

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