Researchers Find a Firewall Effect Concerning Disease Spreading in Drug Use Networks

REACH’s Kirk Dombrowski, Bilal Khan, and Patrick Habecker recently published a paper in volume 21 of Aids and Behavior concerning natural firewalls in social networks of injection drug users. The article, published in AIDs and Behavior, uses network simulation while examining recent HIV epidemics to evaluate the presence of a “firewall effect” in drug use networks.

Multiple agent-based simulations have previously shown that micro network structures work to limit the spread of HIV following even highly infectious outbreaks, but this study goes further, loo of HIV infection.

Results of this study show that broader network characteristics significantly affect the spread of HIV following initially intense outbreaks. The study found that following HIV outbreaks, networks reach a rough limit between 40 and 55 percent of the population before HIV infection basically stops spreading through the network.

Further investigation on the effect of macro network structures on disease spreading is necessary, but this study has produced very meaningful results that are sure to spark more interest in this area.

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