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Social Networks and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Social Networks and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

(p.264) 9) Social Networks and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The Sexual Organization of the City
Yoosik YoumEdward O. Laumann
University of Chicago Press

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a serious social problem in the United States, and primary prevention is crucial for curbing them. However, reaching a population targeted for primary prevention—those who are at risk but not yet infected—with the necessary information about avoiding STDs is not a straightforward process because most people do not get their information about STDs from the public media. Instead, people obtain and transmit information about STDs primarily through their informal social networks, especially their friends. Using data from the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey, which includes information about both sexual behavior and social relationships, this chapter examines whether there are any social-network effects on STD transmission after controlling for other risk factors. It also probes for the underlying mechanisms by which social networks could exert their effects.

Keywords:   sexually transmitted diseases, United States, primary prevention, social networks, Chicago, sexual behavior, social relationships

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