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Insights From a Qualitative Study

Clare Barrington, Anisha Gandhi, Adrienne Gill, Laura Villa Torres, Maria Priscila Brietzke, Lisa Hightow-Weidman
2017 December 3
Global Public Health : 1-13

Abstract

Latinos in the U.S. are disproportionately affected by HIV and are more likely than non-Latinos to present with a late diagnosis, which delays engagement in HIV care and treatment. Social networks may provide normative influence and social support for HIV testing, but a contextualised understanding of networks is needed in order to maximise these social resources. We conducted qualitative interviews with foreign-born Latino men and transgender women (n = 17) in a new immigrant destination to explore their social networks. Most participants described having smaller social networks after migrating. Networks included both local and transnational ties, but most participants had few close ties. Contextual factors including stigma and geographic dispersion limited the re-construction of networks with close ties after migration. HIV testing was not a common topic of discussion with social network ties. Efforts to improve early uptake of HIV testing among Latino immigrants may benefit from engaging with social networks, but such efforts need to address how the context in which networks operate enables access to testing.