Use of social networks to identify persons with undiagnosed HIV infection--seven U.S. cities, October 2003-September 2004

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Jun 24;54(24):601-5.


An estimated 250,000 persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States are not aware of their infections and their risk for transmitting HIV. As part of CDC's Advancing HIV Prevention Initiative, identifying persons with undiagnosed HIV infection and linking them to medical care and prevention services is a national priority. In 2003, a 2-year demonstration project was begun with nine community-based organizations (CBOs) in seven cities to evaluate the effectiveness of using a social network strategy at multiple sites to identify persons at risk for HIV infection and direct them to HIV counseling, testing, and referral (CTR). In this strategy, HIV-positive persons and HIV-negative persons at high risk (i.e., recruiters) are enlisted to recruit for CTR persons from their social, sexual, and drug-use networks (i.e., network associates [NAs]) believed to be at risk for HIV infection. This report summarizes preliminary results from the first year of this 2-year project, which indicated that 133 persons recruited 814 NAs, resulting in 46 newly identified HIV infections (approximately 6% of all persons tested). Health departments and CBOs should consider this strategy as an effective method for recruiting persons for CTR and identifying those with undiagnosed HIV infection.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Social Support
  • United States
  • Urban Population