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Sampling and recruitment of minority women at risk for HIV infection and their sexual partners: Lessons learned from a national pilot of the Heterosexual Partner Study, 2006-2007

Kathy M Hageman, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
*Binh Le, CDC 

Keywords: HIV, Heterosexual Partner Study, behavioral surveillance, risk

During 2006-2007, CDC conducted the Heterosexual Partner Study (HPS) in conjunction with the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) to investigate HIV risk behaviors of sexual partners of minority women. NHBS was conducted in 25 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS; 16 NHBS sites participated in HPS with a HPS target sample size of 100 matched pairs per site. Eligible minority women were recruited at venues and by peers and asked to recruit up to 2 recent (<= 3 months) partners. Voluntary HIV testing was provided after completion of the behavioral survey.

From NHBS, 5714 women were eligible for HPS. More than half of eligible women (54.4%) consented to participate in HPS, of whom 33.1% successfully recruited > 1 partner. Ten percent of women recruited two partners. For each recruitment phase (eligibility, consent, and participation), approximately four-fifths of women were black and one-fifth were Hispanic. Female recruitment was more successful through peers than venues (57.1% vs. 45.1%; p< 0.0001). Likewise, men whose partners had been recruited by peers were more likely to participate than those recruited at venues (34.3% vs. 28.0%; p<0.01).

Site sample size ranged from 13-103 pairs with an overall mean of 68 pairs. Numerous recruitment barriers and successes were identified. Barriers included females' concerns of asking a sex partner to complete the survey and undergo HIV testing; males perceiving HPS as a ‘female’ study; and males unwilling or unable to come to the field site to participate. A key recruitment strategy identified by women was to accompany the partner to the field site to participate. These findings provide insight to the success of peer referral over venue recruitment for the index participant and her partner as well as barriers and successes to recruitment for this hard-to-reach population at risk for HIV.

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