There's still time to register for next week's Advances in Data Science Seminar taking place on Tuesday 2nd April 2019.
Elizabeth Fearon will present "Social and sexual networks among gay men and other men who have sex with men in Nairobi and Johannesburg: HIV transmission and opportunities for health promotion"
Gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV across the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Studies of MSM in SSA have found high HIV prevalence and incidence, alongside widespread experience of social stigma, violence, harassment and poor access to sexual health services. The incentives for MSM to socialise and seek partners online using socialising apps and sites are high, and correspondingly, there is great potential to use online social media venues to provide information or referrals for in-person HIV prevention, testing and care services.
Dynamic networks are central to understanding both HIV transmission and health behavioural influence. Socialising patterns influence the success of health promotion approaches that rely heavily on utilising peer educators and peer-driven intervention models. Social networks also form the basis of many sampling and surveillance methodologies among ‘hidden’ populations and those lacking sampling frames, such as respondent driven sampling, a form of chain-referral sampling.
This talk will describe the context, motivation and proposed methods for using data about online and offline socialising patterns, sexual partnerships, and HIV status and engagement in care from representative samples of MSM from Nairobi and Johannesburg recruited using respondent-driven sampling to develop dynamic network models of HIV transmission, explore the potential role of social media use in HIV transmission, and bring networks-based insights to improving the targeting of health promotion and inform public health intervention development.
Bio: Elizabeth Fearon is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Department for Global Health and Development at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her research has been focused on social influences on HIV risk, including friendship network influences, HIV epidemic surveillance, intervention development and evaluation research in East and Southern Africa, particularly among highly affected and marginalised populations in these settings. She has recently begun an MRC Skills Development Fellowship at the LSHTM, collaborating with the University of Manchester, to apply dynamic network modelling approaches to questions of HIV transmission and prevention in the context of increasing online socialising and partnership formation among gay men and other MSM in Nairobi and Johannesburg.
Light refreshments will be provided after the talk.