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.
Keywords: Counseling; HIV testing; Referral; Social network; Testing.