Role of direct and indirect social and spatial ties in the diffusion of hiv and hcv among people who inject drugs

Steven J. Clipman, Shruti H. Mehta, Aylur K. Srikrishnan, Katie J.C. Zook, Priya Duggal, Shobha Mohapatra, Saravanan Shanmugam, Paneerselvam Nandagopal, Muniratnam S. Kumar, Elizabeth Ogburn, Gregory M. Lucas, Carl A. Latkin, Sunil S. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: People who inject drugs (PWID) account for some of the most explosive HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemics globally. While individual drivers of infection are well understood, less is known about network factors, with minimal data beyond direct ties. Methods: 2,512 PWID in New Delhi, India were recruited in 2017-19 using a sociometric network design. Sampling was initiated with 10 indexes who recruited named injection partners (people who they injected with in the prior month). Each recruit then recruited their named injection partners following the same process with cross-network linkages established by biometric data. Participants responded to a survey, including information on injection venues, and provided a blood sample. Factors associated with HIV/HCV infection were identified using logistic regression. Results: Median age was 26; 99% were male. Baseline HIV prevalence was 37.0% and 46.8% were actively infected with HCV (HCV RNA positive). The odds of prevalent HIV and active HCV infection decreased with each additional degree of separation from an infected alter (HIV AOR: 0.87; HCV AOR: 0.90) and increased among those who injected at a specific venue (HIV AOR: 1.50; HCV AOR: 1.69) independent of individual-level factors (p<0.001). Additionally, sociometric factors e.g., network distance to an infected alter, were statistically significant predictors even when considering immediate egocentric ties. Conclusions: These data demonstrate an extremely high burden of HIV and HCV infection and a highly interconnected injection and spatial network structure. Incorporating network and spatial data into the design/implementation of interventions may help to interrupt transmission while improving efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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