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Candidate change agent identification among men at risk for HIV infection

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  • Schneider, John A.
  • McFadden, Rachel B.
  • Laumann, Edward O.
  • Prem Kumar, S.G.
  • Gandham, Sabitha R.
  • Oruganti, Ganesh
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    Abstract

    Despite limited HIV prevention potency, peer-based programs have become one of the most often used HIV prevention approaches internationally. These programs demonstrate a need for greater specificity in peer change agent (PCA) recruitment and social network evaluation. In the present three-phase study based in India (2009–2010), we first explored the nature of friendship among truck-drivers, a group of men at high risk for HIV infection, in order to develop a thorough understanding of the social forces that contribute to and maintain their personal networks. This was accomplished in the first two study phases through a combination of focus group discussions (n = 5 groups), in-depth qualitative interviews (n = 20), and personal network analyses (n = 25) of truck-drivers to define friendship and deepen our understanding of friendship across geographic spaces. Measures collected in phases I and II included friend typologies, discussion topics, social network influences, advice-giving, and risk reduction. Outcomes were assessed through an iterative process of qualitative textual analysis and social network analysis. The networks of truck-drivers were found to comprise three typologies: close friends, parking lot friends, and other friends. From these data, we developed an algorithmic approach to the identification of a candidate PCA within a high-risk man's personal network. In phase III we piloted field-use of this approach to identify and recruit PCAs, and further evaluated their potential for intervention through preliminary analysis of the PCA's own personal networks. An instrument was developed to translate what social network theory and analysis has taught us about egocentric network dynamics into a real-world methodology for identifying intervention-appropriate peers within an individual's personal network. Our approach can be tailored to the specifications of any high-risk population, and may serve to enhance current peer-based HIV interventions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 1192-1201

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:7:p:1192-1201

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    Keywords: India; Social networks; HIV; Truck drivers; Peer-based interventions; Men;

    References

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    1. Cornman, Deborah H. & Schmiege, Sarah J. & Bryan, Angela & Joseph Benziger, T. & Fisher, Jeffrey D., 2007. "An information-motivation-behavioral skills (IMB) model-based HIV prevention intervention for truck drivers in India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 1572-1584, April.
    2. Latkin, Carl A. & Donnell, Deborah & Metzger, David & Sherman, Susan & Aramrattna, Apinun & Davis-Vogel, Annet & Quan, Vu Minh & Gandham, Sharavi & Vongchak, Tasanai & Perdue, Tom & Celentano, David D, 2009. "The efficacy of a network intervention to reduce HIV risk behaviors among drug users and risk partners in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Philadelphia, USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 740-748, February.
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