Using respondent-driven sampling methodology for HIV biological and behavioral surveillance in international settings: a systematic review

AIDS Behav. 2008 Jul;12(4 Suppl):S105-30. doi: 10.1007/s10461-008-9421-1. Epub 2008 Jun 17.


To determine operational and analytical characteristics of respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in international settings and to explore factors that may affect recruitment of most-at-risk populations using RDS, we reviewed HIV biological and behavioral surveillance studies that used this method outside of the United States. We identified 123 eligible studies, 59 from Europe, 40 from Asia and the Pacific, 14 from Latin America, seven from Africa and three from Oceania. Studies collectively recruited 32,298 participants between 2003 and 2007; 53% of studies were conducted among injecting drug users, which generally had faster recruitment compared with studies among sex workers. All but 13 studies reached > or = 90% of their intended sample size, and six studies failed to reach equilibrium for key variables. This review has shown that RDS is an effective technique, when designed and implemented appropriately, to sample most-at-risk populations for HIV biological and behavioral surveys.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sexual Behavior*