Chain Peer Referral Approach for HIV Testing Among Adolescents in Kisumu County, Kenya

AIDS Behav. 2020 Feb;24(2):484-490. doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02560-2.


New HIV infections among adolescents continues to be a large public health burden in sub-Saharan Africa, with few adolescents accessing HIV testing and counseling (HTC) services. We evaluated the effect of a peer referral program among adolescents in Kisumu county, Kenya in accessing HTC. Female adolescents aged 15 to 19 years were recruited from three health clinics in Kisumu County. They, in turn, recruited their peers for HTC by handing out referral cards. Referrals would then recruit their peers and this peer-referral repeated for approximately 5 months. The 252 female index seeds showed a relatively higher-risk profile for HIV compared to the 792 referral participants. The referral system yielded an increased proportion of first-time adolescent testers from 13.1% among index seeds to 42.7% among the second wave of referrals. However, the peer referral system ultimately did not increase the absolute number of adolescents Queryaccessing HTC. Future strategies should consider these findings to better target those with undiagnosed HIV infection.

Keywords: Adolescents; Counselling; HIV/AIDS; Testing.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Counseling*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Peer Group*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Health
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Serologic Tests
  • Young Adult