Diane Binson, PhD

Diane Binson PhDDr. Binson is a sociologist with considerable experience in teaching and research methods, particularly survey research design, sampling, and questionnaire construction. Dr. Binson has been involved in AIDS-related research for over 20 years, has received numerous grants, mainly NIH and State of California funded, has experience studying multiple populations at risk for HIV using both quantitative and qualitative methods, and has published widely. She has a long history of collaboration with community partners, assisting community-based organizations in designing surveys to assess HIV-related risk in their communities, and she has designed evaluations of a number of community-led interventions. Early in the epidemic, Dr. Binson’s research effort focused on understanding the trajectory of the epidemic, its prevalence in the U.S. and the determinants of HIV-related behavioral risk using large scale national and probability sample surveys; she also was a member of the core group of scientists (Drs. Catania, Stall and Paul) who designed and conducted a large random-digit-dialing telephone study of gay men in four major epicenters in the U.S. Dr. Binson’s methodological studies have focused on issues related to measurement error and participation bias in sample surveys and on the use of cognitive interviewing techniques (i.e., “think alouds” and concurrent and retrospective verbal reports) to evaluate the feasibility of item and survey design in a study of injection drug users. She also has examined respondents’ understanding of sexual behavior terms used in surveys and has studied the effects of question wording and interviewer gender on responses to sexual behavior questions among the general population. She has conducted a second methodological study focusing on a national probability sample of African-American men and women.

During the last ten years Dr. Binson’s research interest has been on examining how the environment (physical, social, normative factors) in risk settings condition individual HIV-related risk behavior. Several NIMH grants provided funding to examine the process by which HIV/AIDS-prevention policy and programs are incorporated into risk settings and sex-club environments and to develop and validate a measure for HIV/AIDS-prevention environments. Such a measure facilitates an evaluation of person-environment interaction and the efficacy of structural- and individual-level interventions. Dr. Binson is currently completing data collection on a multi-method study to assess how participants script their sexual encounters in various sex venues and to explore how these sex venue environments differentially influence sexual risk. In collaboration research with community partners, Dr. Binson has conducted a number of evaluation studies to assess the efficacy of community programs to reduce HIV-related risk among men who have sex with men, a counseling and testing program in an African American community, and an intervention to reduce HIV/STD-risk among young men being released from prison. She has just completed an evaluation study of a program specifically designed to reduce sexual and drug-related risk among non-gay identified Latino men who have sex with men. Dr. Binson is a member of the George Washington University School of Medicine YES Center, which coordinates a demonstration project in eight metropolitan areas in the U.S. to identify HIV-positive young African-American and Latino men who have sex with men (ages 13 to 24), recruit them into care and evaluate the efficacy of continuance of care interventions.

Research interests

AIDS, public health policy, sexual networks, HIV/STD testing, contextual determinants of behavior, survey research methodology, cognitive interviewing.

Current research


  • 1985, Ph.D. (Sociology), Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
  • 1979, M.A. (Sociology), Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
  • 1965, B.S. (Mathematics), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Articles by Diane Binson

Last modified: December 4, 2014