It’s the network, stupid : a population’s sexual network connectivity determines its STI prevalence
CITATION: Kenyon, C. R. & Delva, W. 2019. It’s the network, stupid : a population’s sexual network connectivity determines its STI prevalence [version 2; peer review: 2 approved]. F1000Research, 7:1880, doi:10.12688/f1000research.17148.2.
The original publication is available at https://f1000research.com/
There is little consensus as to why sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and bacterial vaginosis (BV) are more prevalent in some populations than others. Using a broad definition of sexual network connectivity that includes both structural and conductivity-related factors, we argue that the available evidence suggests that high prevalence of traditional STIs, HIV and BV can be parsimoniously explained by these populations having more connected sexual networks. Positive feedback, whereby BV and various STIs enhance the spread of other STIs, then further accentuates the spread of BV, HIV and other STIs. We review evidence that support this hypothesis and end by suggesting study designs that could further evaluate the hypothesis, as well as implications of this hypothesis for the prevention and management of STIs.