Changing Places and Partners: Associations of Neighborhood Conditions With Sexual Network Turnover Among African American Adults Relocated From Public Housing

Arch Sex Behav. 2017 May;46(4):925-936. doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0687-x. Epub 2016 Feb 29.


Neighborhood conditions and sexual network turnover have been associated with the acquisition of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, few studies investigate the influence of neighborhood conditions on sexual network turnover. This longitudinal study used data collected across 7 visits from a predominantly substance-misusing cohort of 172 African American adults relocated from public housing in Atlanta, Georgia, to determine whether post-relocation changes in exposure to neighborhood conditions influence sexual network stability, the number of new partners joining sexual networks, and the number of partners leaving sexual networks over time. At each visit, participant and sexual network characteristics were captured via survey, and administrative data were analyzed to describe the census tracts where participants lived. Multilevel models were used to longitudinally assess the relationships of tract-level characteristics to sexual network dynamics over time. On average, participants relocated to neighborhoods that were less economically deprived and violent, and had lower alcohol outlet densities. Post-relocation reductions in exposure to alcohol outlet density were associated with fewer new partners joining sexual networks. Reduced perceived community violence was associated with more sexual partners leaving sexual networks. These associations were marginally significant. No post-relocation changes in place characteristics were significantly associated with overall sexual network stability. Neighborhood social context may influence sexual network turnover. To increase understanding of the social-ecological determinants of HIV/STIs, a new line of research should investigate the combined influence of neighborhood conditions and sexual network dynamics on HIV/STI transmission over time.

Keywords: HIV/STIs; Longitudinal analysis; Neighborhoods; Sexual networks.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Georgia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners