Social connections may prevent HIV infection among black men who have sex with men

May 17, 2018 by Enrique Rivero, University of California, Los Angeles
A scanning electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human T cell. Credit: National Institutes of Health

UCLA-led research suggests that receiving support from friends and acquaintances can help prevent black men who have sex with men from becoming infected with HIV.

Black men who have sex with men have disproportionately of HIV infection. While are known to influence the behaviors that influence people's risk for HIV, little is known about whether they affect the risk for becoming infected with HIV.

The researchers analyzed data from a 2009–11 study that examined a multifaceted intervention for who have sex with men in six U.S. cities. They analyzed the associations between measures of network support—personal and emotional, financial, medical, social participation and others—and time to HIV seroconversion, which is when antibodies to the virus develop and it becomes detectable in the blood.

One thousand men tested negative for HIV infection at the beginning of the study. Of them, 28 eventually tested positive during the study period. Participants who remained free from HIV were more likely to receive personal and emotional, medical or social support through their social networks.

Limitations to the study include that participants received peer counseling, testing for HIV and , and care referrals, which could have contributed to a lower risk for HIV; the study measured perceived support rather than the actual amount of support participants received; and the study was limited to men living in large cities.

By suggesting that a greater level of support from friends and other social connections could help protect against acquiring HIV, the findings could be helpful for future HIV prevention projects.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Explore further: Facebook app offers opportunity to help unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers via friendsourcing

Related Stories

Facebook app offers opportunity to help unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers via friendsourcing

May 9, 2018
Researchers at IUPUI have developed a Facebook app that, a study shows, offers a way to provide much-needed support to unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Many adolescent and young adult cancer survivors have more social connections than peers

March 8, 2018
Survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer often have stronger social networks than their non-cancer peers, according to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital researchers, who hope to translate that support into better ...

Social support intervention helps those living with HIV/AIDS

September 23, 2016
(HealthDay)—A social support intervention can improve social support and quality of life (QOL) for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, according to a study published online Sept. 20 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

HPTN study finds greatly elevated HIV infection rates among young black MSM in the US

July 23, 2012
Study results released today by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) show disturbing rates of new HIV infections occurring among black gay and bisexual men in the U.S. (also known as men who have sex with men, or MSM), ...

UCLA-designed program helps former HIV-positive inmates maintain health after release from jail

March 27, 2018
After years of public health efforts, health care at the Los Angeles County Jail has significantly improved, and the facility now typically provides full access to treatment for inmates who have HIV—including medications ...

Childhood friendships may have some health benefits in adulthood

March 27, 2018
Time spent with friends in childhood is associated with physical health in adulthood, according to data from a multi-decade study of men. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for ...

Recommended for you

Long-acting injectable implant shows promise for HIV treatment and prevention

October 9, 2018
A persistent challenge in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention is medication adherence – getting patients to take their medication as required to get the best results.

Scientists develop rapid test for diagnosing tuberculosis in people with HIV

October 8, 2018
An international team that includes Rutgers scientists has made significant progress in developing a urine diagnostic test that can quickly, easily and inexpensively identify tuberculosis infection in people also infected ...

Researchers uncover new role of TIP60 protein in controlling tumour formation

October 8, 2018
Scientists from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a new molecular pathway that controls colorectal cancer development, and their exciting ...

Combination therapy targets latent reservoir of HIV

October 3, 2018
With more than 35 million people worldwide living with the virus and nearly 2 million new cases each year, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a major global epidemic. Existing antiretroviral drugs do not cure ...

Anti-integrin therapy effect on intestinal immune system in HIV-infected patients

October 3, 2018
In a study published today in Science Translational Medicine, Mount Sinai researchers describe for the first time a mechanism that may shrink collections of immune cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, called lymphoid ...

No 'reservoir': Detectable HIV-1 in treated human liver cells found to be inert

October 1, 2018
In a proof-of-principle study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report that a certain liver immune cell called a macrophage contains only defective or inert HIV-1 copies, and aren't likely to restart infection on their own in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.