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SEXUAL NETWORKS AND THE TRANSMISSION OF HIV IN LONDON

  • MELISSA PARKER (a1), HELEN WARD (a1) and SOPHIE DAY (a1)

Abstract

This paper discusses ways in which empirical research investigating sexual networks can further understanding of the transmission of HIV in London, using information from a 24-month period of participant observation and 53 open-ended, in-depth interviews with eighteen men and one woman who have direct and indirect sexual links with each other. These interviews enabled the identification of a wider sexual network between 154 participants and contacts during the year August 1994-July 1995. The linked network data help to identify pathways of transmission between individuals who are HIV+ and those who are HIV−, as well as sexual links between ‘older’ and ‘younger’ men, and with male prostitutes. There appears to be considerable on-going transmission of HIV in London. The majority of participants reported having had unprotected anal and/or vaginal sex within a variety of relationships. The implications of these findings for policies designed to prevent the transmission of HIV are discussed.

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