Social Networks and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Yoosik Youm and Edward O. Laumann

in The Sexual Organization of the City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780226470313
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226470337 | DOI:
Social Networks and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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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

Chapter.  6170 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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