Effectiveness of HIV Testing through Social Networks among Young, African American, Men who have Sex with Men in St. Louis
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness Social Network Testing (SNT) among YAAMSM, compared to Alternative Venue Testing (AVT) or In-House Testing (IHT).
Methods: The study included clients <30 years of age that were tested between September, 2013 and April, 2014. In SNT, clients were given monetary incentives to recruit peers in their social network for testing. In AVT, testing occurred at community locations that were frequented by individuals at risk for HIV, such as nightclubs. In IHT, clients were referred to either location or walked in for HIV testing. Fisher’s Exact tests were conducted to assess differences of HIV positivity and rates of YAAMSM, by testing type.
Results: A total of 1592 individuals under 30 years were tested. The sample was 78.7% African American, 47.1% male and 40.0% of males identified as MSM. YAAMSM were more likely to be tested through SNT as compared to AVT and IHT (44.0% vs. 7.8% vs. 13.5%; p < 0.001). HIV positivity was more often identified through SNT, with a positivity rate of 6.0% while AVT and IHT had 0.9% and 1.0% respectively (p <0.032).
Conclusion: Social Network Testing is an effective strategy to reach YAAMSM in urban areas.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy
Describe three different HIV testing strategies (Social Network Testing, Alternative Venue Testing, and In-Clinic Testing) Discuss the importance of targeted HIV testing interventions in vulnerable populations Compare the effectiveness of the three in terms of proportion of positive results and reaching the young African American Men who have Sex with Men population.
Keyword(s): HIV Interventions, Youth
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior studying Public Health at Saint Louis University and this is my capstone project. I am an intern at the agency that provided data for the project, and am supported by my Professors and mentors who have guided me throughout the research process.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.