Local residents trained as 'influence agents' most effective in persuading African couples on HIV counseling and testing

Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Aug;30(8):1488-97. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0994.


Couples in sub-Saharan Africa are the largest group in the world at risk for HIV infection. Couples counseling and testing programs have been shown to reduce HIV transmission, but such programs remain rare in Africa. Before couples counseling and testing can become the norm, it is essential to increase demand for the services. We evaluated the effectiveness of several promotional strategies during a two-year program in Kitwe and Ndola, Zambia. The program attracted more than 7,600 couples through the use of radio broadcasts, billboards, and other strategies. The most effective recruiting technique was the use of local residents trained as "influence agents" to reach out to friends, neighbors, and others in their sphere of influence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Networks
  • Counseling*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Seropositivity / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Zambia