Social Support Networks: An Underutilized Resource for the Prevention of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases among Hispanic/Latino Migrants and Immigrants

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2018;29(1):44-57. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2018.0005.

Abstract

Hispanic/Latino migrants and immigrants are vulnerable to infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Participation in social support networks helps them cope with circumstances in the U.S. Studies of Hispanic/Latino migrants suggest that participation may also be protective against HIV/STD infection. However the studies do not satisfactorily explain how participation leads to protective actions, and recommend externally-induced interventions for HIV/STD prevention rather than incorporating the spontaneously occurring forms of social support they describe. Given the potential protective effects of support networks, a database search was conducted to ascertain the extent to which published HIV/STD prevention interventions for these populations incorporate their support networks. Very few interventions were identified and fewer still incorporate support networks. This commentary calls for research to understand more fully how support networks affect HIV/STD risks among Hispanic/Latino migrants and immigrants and identifies potential benefits of incorporating these networks in HIV/STD prevention for these vulnerable populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / ethnology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Social Networking*
  • Social Support*
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data
  • United States