California HIV/AIDS Research Program
Improving the efficiency of HIV testing with peer recruitment, financial incentives, and the involvement of persons living with HIV infection.
- Author(s): McCoy, Sandra I
- Shiu, Karen
- Martz, Tyler E
- Smith, Carla Dillard
- Mattox, Loris
- Gluth, Dale R
- Murgai, Neena
- Martin, Marsha
- Padian, Nancy S
- et al.
The authors piloted an HIV testing and counseling (HTC) approach using respondent-driven sampling (RDS), financial incentives, and persons living with HIV infection (PLHIV).
Eligible participants were aged 30-60 years, African American or black, and residents of Oakland, CA. Participants were tested for HIV infection and asked to refer up to 3 others. The authors compared the efficiency of RDS to conventional outreach-based HTC with the number needed to screen (NNS). They evaluated the effect of 2 randomly allocated recruitment incentives on the enrollment of high-risk or HIV-positive network associates: a flat incentive ($20) for eligible recruits or a conditional incentive ($10-35) for eligible recruits in priority groups, such as first-time testers.
Forty-eight participants (10 PLHIV and 38 HIV negative) initiated recruitment chains resulting in 243 network associates. Nine (3.7%) participants tested HIV positive, of whom 7 (78%) were previously recognized. RDS was more efficient than conventional HTC at identifying any PLHIV (new or previously recognized; RDS: NNS = 27, 95% CI: 14 to 59; conventional: NNS = 154, 95% CI: 95 to 270). There was no difference between the 2 incentive groups in the likelihood of recruiting at least 1 high-risk HIV-negative or HIV-positive network associate (adjusted odds ratio = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.06 to 13.06) or in total number of high-risk HIV-negative or HIV-positive associates (adjusted odds ratio = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.23 to 2.71).
Social network HTC strategies may increase demand for HTC and efficiently identify PLHIV. The flat incentive was as successful as the conditional incentive for recruiting high-risk individuals. Unexpectedly, this method also reidentified PLHIV aware of their status.