Publications & Reports

Differences in the social networks of ethnic Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese injecting drug users and their implications for blood-borne virus transmission.

Aitken CK, Higgs P, Bowden S
Epidemiology and Social Research Program, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, Melbourne, Australia.


The social networks of 49 ethnic Vietnamese injecting drug users (IDUs) and 150 IDUs of other ethnicities recruited in Melbourne, Australia, were examined for ethnic differences in distribution of hepatitis C virus infection risk using social network analysis and molecular epidemiology.

Vietnamese IDUs were more highly connected than non-Vietnamese IDUs, and more likely to be members of dense injecting sub-networks.

More related infections were detected in IDUs with discordant ethnicities than were captured in the social network data; nonetheless, most dyads and most IDU pairs with related infections had matching ethnicity, confirming that mixing was assortative on that criterion.

Mixing was not obviously dissortative by risk; low-risk Vietnamese IDUs injected more frequently than did correspondingly low-risk non-Vietnamese IDUs, but results for other measures were reversed or equivocal.

Network measurements suggest that ethnic Vietnamese IDUs are at elevated risk of blood-borne infection, a conclusion supported by their relatively high HIV prevalence.


  • Journal: Epidemiology and Infection
  • Published: 01/03/2008
  • Volume: 136
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 410-416