This study examined risk network characteristics of Puerto Rican crack users and the relationship between the network and HIV-related sex risk behavior over time. The participants (N = 383 in New York; N = 165 in Puerto Rico), recruited through street outreach, were interviewed at both baseline and 6-month follow-up. The majority of crack users (88%, New York; 92%, Puerto Rico) in the sample named one or more personal risk network members. As compared with New York participants, crack users in Puerto Rico reported larger risk networks and were more likely to engage in sex risk behaviors with strangers or acquaintances. In multivariate analyses, a significant variable in predicting sex risk behaviors at follow-up in both sites was the baseline measure of the dependent variable. Significant network variables were: having any known crack use member less than 6 months and having acquaintance/stranger in network in New York; communicating with network members about using condoms in Puerto Rico. More attention to sex risk behaviors are needed in HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs.
Egocentric HIV risk networks among Puerto Rican crack users in New York and Puerto Rico: Impact on sex risk behaviors over time