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A Multilevel Analysis of Social Network Characteristics and Technology Use on HIV Risk and Protective Behaviors Among Transgender Women.

  • Author(s): Reback, Cathy J
  • Clark, Kirsty
  • Fletcher, Jesse B
  • Holloway, Ian W
  • et al.
Abstract

This study examined the empirical structure (i.e., size, density, duration) of transgender women's social networks and estimated how network alters' perceived HIV risk/protective behaviors influenced transgender women's own HIV risk/protective behaviors. From July 2015 to September 2016, 271 transgender women completed surveys on sociodemographic characteristics, HIV risk/protective behaviors, and social networks. Hierarchical generalized linear models examined the associations of social network alter member data 'nested' within participant data. Analyses revealed that social network factors were associated with HIV risk/protective behaviors, and that the gender identity of the alters (cisgender vs. transgender), and social network sites and technology use patterns ("SNS/tech") moderated these associations. Among network alters with whom the participant communicated via SNS/tech, participants' HIV risk behavior was positively associated with alters' HIV risk behavior (cisgender alters aOR 4.10; transgender alters aOR 5.87). Among cisgender alters (but not transgender alters) with whom the participant communicated via SNS/tech, participants' HIV protective behavior was positively associated with alters' HIV protective behavior (aOR 8.94).

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