Title: The geography and inter-community configuration of new sexual partnership formation in a rural South African population over fourteen years (2003â2016)
Authors: Kim H-Y, Cuadros D, Wilkinson E, Junqueira DM, de Oliveira T, Tanser F.
Journal: PLoS Global Public Health,https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000055: (2022)
AbstractUnderstanding spatial configuration of sexual network structure is critical for effective use of HIV preventative interventions in a community. However, this has never been described at the population level for any setting in sub-Saharan Africa. We constructed the comprehensive geospatial sexual network among new heterosexual partnerships in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI)âs population-based surveillance, we identified stable sexual partnerships among individuals (?15 years) from 2003 to 2016. Sexual partnerships and residency were recorded via household surveys (every 4â6 months). We geolocated residents and migration events and mapped the geospatial linkages of sexual partners at the start of sexual partnerships. In a grid composed by 108 cells (nodes; 3kmx3km per cell) covering the surveillance area (438km2), we calculated the degree of connectivity and centrality of the nodes and examined their association with HIV prevalence and incidence per cell. Of 2401 new sexual partnerships, 21% (n = 495) had both partners living within the surveillance area at the start of sexual partnerships, and 76% (376/495) were linked to the geographic HIV cluster with high HIV prevalence identified in a peri-urban community. Overall, 57 nodes had at least one connection to another node. The nodes in the peri-urban cluster had higher connectivity (mean = 19, range: 9â32), compared to outside the cluster (6, range: 1â16). The nodeâs degree of connectivity was positively associated with HIV prevalence of the cell (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.67; p <0.005). The peri-urban cluster contained nine of the 10 nodes that composed of a single large central module in the community. About 17% of sexual partnerships (n = 421) were formed between a resident and a non-resident partner who out-migrated. Most of these non-resident partners lived in KwaZulu-Natal (86.7%), followed by Gauteng (9.7%), and the median distance between a resident and a non-resident partner was 50.1km (IQR: 23.2â177.2). We found that the peri-urban HIV cluster served as the highly connected central node of the network for sexual partnership formation. The network was also connected beyond the surveillance area across South Africa. Understanding spatial sexual network can improve the provision of spatially targeted and effective interventions.
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Citation: Kim H-Y, Cuadros D, Wilkinson E, Junqueira DM, de Oliveira T, Tanser F. The geography and inter-community configuration of new sexual partnership formation in a rural South African population over fourteen years (2003â2016) PLoS Global Public Health,https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000055: (2022).