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Open AccessArticle

Network Evolution of a Large Online MSM Dating Community: 2005–2018

by Chuchu Liu 1 and Xin Lu 1,2,3,*
1
College of Systems Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China
2
School of Software Engineering, Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology, Shenzhen 518172, China
3
School of Business, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4322; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224322
Received: 12 October 2019 / Revised: 2 November 2019 / Accepted: 4 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Due to multiple sexual partners and low rates of condom use, the HIV infection rate among MSM (men who have sex with men) is much higher than that of the general population. In order to analyze the characteristics of online activities of MSM, and to understand the evolution of their social networks, in this study we collect a comprehensive dataset, covering the period from January 2005 to June 2018, from the largest Chinese online community, Baidu Tieba. We build an online dating network for MSM-related individuals in the gay-bar community, and analyze the network from static and dynamic aspects. It is found that there is a strong homophily regarding the cities where users reside when developing interactions with others, and that most network measurements tend to be stable at the later stages of evolution, while the size of the largest community fluctuates. This is an indication that the network is formed of rapidly flexible interactions which changes quickly. In comparison with studies on heterosexual networks, we find that the MSM dating network shows differences in many aspects, such as the positive degree-degree correlation and high clustering coefficient, suggesting different thinking and measures should be taken in the policy making of public health management towards the MSM population. View Full-Text
Keywords: social network; evolution; MSM; dating community; evolution pattern social network; evolution; MSM; dating community; evolution pattern
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Liu, C.; Lu, X. Network Evolution of a Large Online MSM Dating Community: 2005–2018. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4322.

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