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AIDS Behav. 2019 Jan;23(Suppl 1):41-47. doi: 10.1007/s10461-018-2146-x.

Implementing a Standardized Social Networks Testing Strategy in a Low HIV Prevalence Jurisdiction.

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AIDS/HIV Program, Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Madison, WI, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA.
Center for AIDS Intervention Research, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.
AIDS/HIV Program, Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Madison, WI, USA.


Alternative HIV testing strategies are needed to engage individuals not reached by traditional clinical or non-clinical testing programs. A social networks recruitment strategy, in which people at risk for or living with HIV are enlisted and trained by community-based agencies to recruit individuals from their social, sexual, or drug-using networks for HIV testing, demonstrates higher positivity rates compared to other non-clinical recruitment strategies in some jurisdictions. During 2013-2015, a social networks testing protocol was implemented in Wisconsin to standardize an existing social networks testing program. Six community-based, non-clinical agencies with multiple sites throughout the state implemented the protocol over the 2-year period. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The new positivity rate (0.49%) through social networks testing did not differ from that of traditional counseling, testing, and referral recruitment methods (0.48%). Although social networks testing did not yield a higher new positivity rate compared to other testing strategies, it proved to be successful at reaching high risk individuals who may not otherwise engage in HIV testing.


Counseling; HIV testing; Referral; Social network; Testing

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