Venue-mediated weak ties in multiplex HIV transmission risk networks among drug-using male sex workers and associates

Kayo Fujimoto, Peng Wang, Michael W. Ross, Mark L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Objectives. We investigated the structural characteristics of a multiplex HIV transmission risk network of drug-using male sex workers and their associates. Methods. Using a sample of 387 drug-using male sex workers and their male and female associates in Houston, Texas, we estimated an exponential random graph model to examine the venue-mediated relationships between individuals, the structural characteristics of relationships not linked to social venues, and homophily. We collected data in 2003 to 2004. The network comprised social, sexual, and drug-using relationships and affiliations with social venues. Results. Individuals affiliated with the same social venues, bars, or street intersections were more likely to have nonreciprocated (weak) ties with others. Sex workers were less likely than were other associates to have reciprocated (strong) ties to other sex workers with the same venues. Individuals tended to have reciprocated ties not linked to venues. Partner choice tended to be predicated on homophily. Conclusions. Social venues may provide a milieu for forming weak ties in HIV transmission risk networks centered on male sex workers, which may foster the efficient diffusion of prevention messages as diverse information is obtained and information redundancy is avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1128-1135
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

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