Norms, social networks, and HIV-related risk behaviors among urban disadvantaged drug users
Altering norms may be an important approach to introducing and sustaining health protective behavior change. This study sought to examine the relationship between condom use, condom norms, and social network characteristics among a sample of economically impoverished individuals at risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV. Participants were 1051 individuals from a drug-using community in the USA. Eighty percent were current drug users; 17% were HIV seropositive. Reported condom use was strongly associated with peer norms about condom use (friends talking about condoms, encouraging condom use, and using condoms). Women were less likely than men to report that their friends used condoms. Injection drug use was negatively associated with peer norms about condom use, while church attendance and network characteristics were positively associated with condom-promoting norms. The size of the health advice and the financial support networks was most positively related to condom norms. Network methodology may aid in the identification of specific ties that promote condom use norms in a population. The findings of this study may have implications for norm change interventions among disadvantaged communities at high risk for HIV/AIDS.
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Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (February)
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