An examination of the social networks and social isolation in older and younger adults living with HIV/AIDS

Health Soc Work. 2006 Nov;31(4):299-308. doi: 10.1093/hsw/31.4.299.


This study examined social networks and social isolation in older (50 years or more) and younger (ages 20 to 39) adults with HIV/AIDS. The author conducted interviews with 88 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the Pacific Northwest. Both groups' social networks had similar patterns; however, older adults were more likely to live alone. More than 38 percent of older adults and 54 percent of older adults of color were at risk of social isolation compared with 25 percent of those 20 to 39 years of age. Older men and older adults of color had significantly lower scores on the social network scale than others. Having a confidant and receiving instrumental support were significantly correlated with reduced HIV stigma. Implications for social work practitioners are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Northwestern United States
  • Social Isolation*
  • Social Support*