PSINET: Assisting HIV Prevention Amongst Homeless Youth by Planning Ahead

  • Amulya Yadav University of Southern California
  • Leandro Soriano Marcolino University of Southern California
  • Eric Rice University of Southern California
  • Robin Petering University of Southern California
  • Hailey Winetrobe University of Southern California
  • Harmony Rhoades University of Southern California
  • Milind Tambe University of Southern California
  • Heather Carmichael My Friend’s Place

Abstract

Homeless youth are prone to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) due to their engagement in high risk behavior such as unprotected sex, sex under influence of drugs, and so on. Many non-profit agencies conduct interventions to educate and train a select group of homeless youth about HIV prevention and treatment practices and rely on word-of-mouth spread of information through their social network. Previous work in strategic selection of intervention participants does not handle uncertainties in the social network’s structure and evolving network state, potentially causing significant shortcomings in spread of information. Thus, we developed PSINET, a decision support system to aid the agencies in this task. PSINET includes the following key novelties: (1) it handles uncertainties in network structure and evolving network state; (2) it addresses these uncertainties by using POMDPs in influence maximization; and (3) it provides algorithmic advances to allow high quality approximate solutions for such POMDPs. Simulations show that PSINET achieves around 60 percent more information spread over the current state of the art. PSINET was developed in collaboration with My Friend’s Place (a drop-in agency serving homeless youth in Los Angeles) and is currently being reviewed by their officials.

Author Biographies

Amulya Yadav, University of Southern California
Viterbi School of Engineering
Leandro Soriano Marcolino, University of Southern California
Viterbi School of Engineering
Eric Rice, University of Southern California
School of Social Work
Robin Petering, University of Southern California
School of Social Work
Hailey Winetrobe, University of Southern California
School of Social Work
Harmony Rhoades, University of Southern California
School of Social Work
Milind Tambe, University of Southern California
Viterbi School of Engineering
Published
2016-07-04
Section
Articles