The association between social networks and self-rated risk of HIV infection among secondary school students in Moshi Municipality, Tanzania.


Lyimo, EJ; Todd, J; Richey, LA; Njau, B; (2013) The association between social networks and self-rated risk of HIV infection among secondary school students in Moshi Municipality, Tanzania. SAHARA J, 10 (3-4). pp. 131-9. ISSN 1729-0376 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17290376.2014.888676

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Abstract

This study describes the social networks of secondary school students in Moshi Municipality, and their association with self-rated risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted among 300 students aged 15-24 years in 5 secondary schools in Moshi, Tanzania. Bonding networks were defined as social groupings of students participating in activities within the school, while bridging networks were groups that included students participating in social groupings from outside of the school environs. A structured questionnaire was used to ask about participation in bonding and bridging social networks and self-rated HIV risk behavior. More participants participated in bonding networks (72%) than in bridging networks (29%). Participation in bridging networks was greater among females (25%) than males (12%, p<.005). Of 300 participants, 88 (29%) were sexually experienced, and of these 62 (70%) considered themselves to be at low risk of HIV infection. Factors associated with self-rated risk of HIV included: type of school (p<.003), family structure (p<.008), being sexually experienced (p<.004), having had sex in the past three months (p<.009), having an extra sexual partner (p<.054) and non-condom use in last sexual intercourse (p<.001), but not the presence or type of social capital. The study found no association between bonding and bridging social networks on self-rated risk of HIV among study participants. However, sexually experienced participants rated themselves at low risk of HIV infection despite practicing unsafe sex. Efforts to raise adolescents' self-awareness of risk of HIV infection through life skills education and HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome risk reduction strategies may be beneficial to students in this at-risk group.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Population Studies (1974-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Population Studies Group
PubMed ID: 24641669
Web of Science ID: 336520000003
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2162866

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