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Social Structural Analysis of Street-Involved Youth in Winnipeg, Canada


In the present study, the social linkages of street-involved youth and correlates of infection with chlamydia and gonorrhea are explored. This is the first study to assess the social linkages of street- involved youth using RDS. Eleven street-involved youth aged 14 to 24 were selected as seeds to recruit their peers into the study using RDS (N=169). Study staff administered a questionnaire, obtained a urine specimen, and provided recruitment coupons to participants. A week later, participants were provided with test results and treatment if necessary. RDS Analysis Tool was used to assess the effectiveness of RDS and define the social linkages. A Fisher’s Exact test was used to identify any correlates of infection. Gender was the only variable that correlated with infection status (22 percent of females vs. 8 percent of males). A high proportion of male participants had never been tested before. Despite the fact that most female participants had been tested before, high infection rates indicate that more accessible and frequent testing is required. Street-involved youth are connected socially to those who share similar health related behaviors. There is a need for increased testing options and opportunities for street-involved youth.

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