Proyecto Redes: Sexual Networks and HIV Transmission Clusters among Substance Using MSM
Funding Source: NIDA K01 DA040543; PI: Heather Pines
Global disparities in resource allocation to HIV prevention services may limit the promise of recent breakthroughs in HIV prevention science, particularly among vulnerable substance using populations, such as men who have sex with men (MSM), in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Innovative research that integrates social network analysis and genetic sequence analysis methods to direct the delivery of biomedical HIV prevention strategies to individuals at greatest risk may help maximize their impact, control costs, and facilitate their implementation in the context of limited prevention resources.
Proyecto Redes (Networks Project) is a 5-year project funded by a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It contains both a training and research component. The aims of the training component are to develop expertise in social network analysis and genetic sequence analysis methods to identify HIV transmission clusters (i.e., individuals with genetically related HIV infections). The overall goal of the research component is to characterize the sexual networks and sexual network-based drivers of HIV transmission among MSM in Tijuana, Mexico.
More specifically, the research component aims to:
1) Examine the influence of mean degree (i.e., number of male anal intercourse partners), the degree distribution, and sexual mixing patterns on overall sexual network structure among MSM in Tijuana
2) Identify individual, sexual network compositional, and socio-contextual factors associated with degree by HIV status among MSM
3) Determine whether sexual mixing patterns are associated with HIV transmission cluster membership among HIV-positive MSM
To address these aims, Proyecto Redes will partner with a NIDA study (R01DA037811; PI: Patterson) examining the effectiveness of two HIV case identification methods (HIV testing in high-risk venues vs. partner contact tracing) among MSM in Tijuana. Proyecto Redes will utilize behavioral, psychosocial, egocentric sexual network, and HIV-1 pol sequence data collected from 200 newly diagnosed HIV-positive MSM identified via partner contact tracing as part of the parent study and collect additional data from 200 of their HIV-negative and previously diagnosed HIV-positive male sexual partners. Findings from this project will inform the development of comprehensive HIV prevention programs that leverage information on sexual network characteristics to interrupt HIV transmission among MSM in Mexico and other LMIC.