Social Network Dynamics in Transmission of HIV by Sexual Contact


  • Nuran Öze 1Arkın University of Creative Arts and Design, Faculty of Communication, Department of Visual Communication Design, Kyrenia, Cyprus
  • Murat Sayan 2Kocaeli University, Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Laboratory, PCR Unit, Kocaeli, Turkey Near East University, DESAM Research Institute, Nicosia, Northern Cyprus



HIV, Hornet, MSM, sexually transmitted Infections, social network


According to statistics published by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), by the end of 2019, 38 million people were living with HIV. Hornet is the most frequently-used gay-oriented social network worldwide, especially in France, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and Taiwan. In this study, we focused on the correlation between the route of transmission for the HIV-1 virus and social media application usage in terms of sexual contact according to the generation category in Turkey. The study included 280 heterosexual, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM) who were newly diagnosed and antiretroviral treatment-naive HIV-1 patients from cities located in the Marmara region in Turkey. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with each patient between 2015 and 2020. As key populations of the study, bisexuals and MSMs were counted together in the MSMs category because in both sexual preferences, MSM. HIV-1 subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) were identified by phylogenetic analysis. Subtype B (80%, 224/280), non-subtype B (7.5%, 21/280), and CRFs (12.5%, 35/280) were identified as the most commonly occurring HIV-1 subtypes. HIV-1 acquisition route was found to be largely through MSM contact (67.9%, 190/280) compared to heterosexual contact (32.1%, 90/280). We have analysed the role of sex-oriented social media applications in HIV transmission among different sexual contacts. The study results showed that sex-oriented social media applications play a facilitator role in HIV transmission between key populations. This study may be useful for developing policies to prevent HIV transmission.