We review studies examining the quality and quantity of social relationships as potential risk factors for differential progression of human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. Several well-conducted prospective studies suggest that the health effects associated with the presence of supportive social relationships vary according to disease stage and mode of transmission. For gay or bisexual males in the early stages of infection, the presence of supportive social relationships appears to be a risk factor for accelerated disease progression. For individuals in the later stages of infection and those who acquire HIV via intravenous drug use or transfusion, supportive social relationships appear to be associated with health protective effects similar to those observed in other disease settings. We consider a variety of potential explanations for accelerated disease progression in gay men with extensive networks of personal relationships.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health