The LGBT Health & Development Program



Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) have an alarming HIV/AIDS prevalence and are also one of the only risk groups showing an increasing rate of infections. Network research is a current priority area due to HIV’s high transmission dependence on sexual and drug network dynamics; however, few studies have examined the networks of YMSM.

In order to advance knowledge of the drug and sexual networks of YMSM and how these networks influence HIV transmission, Linking Young Networks in Chicago (LYNC) is constructing and analyzing a macro-network of YMSM by utilizing data already being collected from Crew450 and a Social Network Supplement. This study is linking the previously collected personal networks of these YMSM by matching the already collected identifying information of network members and building a macro-network of YMSM. A network such as this has never been collected with YMSM and will lead to new and important investigations of HIV transmission, identification of key individuals (those who may bridge HIV transmission to otherwise unrelated networks or those who may hold the most influence), and an examination of the value of macro-network structures in the prediction of health outcomes.

This project is currently in the data analysis phase.

Investigator:  Michelle Birkett, PhD
Co-Investigator:  Brian Mustanski, PhD
Collaborators:  Stephen Muth, Director of Quintus-ential Solutions; Yun Huang, PhD, Research Associate at SONIC Research Group, Northwestern University

Funder:  National Institute of Drug Abuse

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