The Likoma network study (LNS) investigates the sexual networks connecting the inhabitants of Likoma, a small island of Lake Malawi with high HIV prevalence. Whereas previous studies of sexual networks and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan countries have focused solely on the personal networks of a small number of respondents, the LNS attempts to document the sexual networks of the entire adult population of Likoma. To do so, it uses a unique sociocentric study design, in which all members of the local population are contacted for a survey interview and are asked to nominate their five most recent sexual partners. Using these data, quasi-complete 'maps' of the sexual networks connecting inhabitants of the island can be constructed. These maps allow investigation of the impact of networks on HIV epidemiology and can inform mathematical models of HIV prevention. In addition to data on sexual networks, the LNS data include information on the social networks (e.g. friendship), socioeconomic characteristics and HIV status of Likoma's residents. Baseline data were collected in 2005-06. A first follow-up was conducted in 2007-08 and a second follow-up is planned for early 2013. Access to the LNS data is contingent upon review of a short concept paper and forming collaborations with LNS investigators.
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