The Particulars: The effects of traditional HIV testing and referral programs can be limited because many people who are at high risk of HIV never take the initiative to get tested on their own. Whether or not face-to-face social networking strategies (SNS) are more effective has not been well defined.

Data Breakdown: Data from 45 HIV testing sites were collected for a study in which some sites used traditional counseling, testing, and referral (CTR) programs and some used SNS programs in which high-risk patients were paid an incentive ($10 to $20) for every person they referred who got tested. At SNS sites, 2.49% of people tested were HIV positive, compared with a 0.91% rate observed at CTR sites.

Take Home Pearl: Enlisting patients at high risk for HIV to recruit their peers to get tested for the virus appears to be more efficient and targeted than traditional CTR programs.