Social Network HIV Counseling and Testing Program

Principal Investigator: Cathy J. Reback, Ph.D.
Funded By: Los Angeles County, Department of Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs
Grant #: PH-000831
Total Project Period: 10/1/10 – 12/31/19

The Social Network HIV Counseling and Texting (HCT) program utilizes a social networks testing methodology, specifically designed to work with HIV infected and high-risk gay and bisexual men and transgender women. HIV infected or high-risk negative participants who either come to the Friends Community Center site for services or are contacted through street outreach and meet eligibility are invited to serve as recruiters. The engagement of new recruiters is an active and ongoing part of the program. Potential recruiters attend a group orientation, which explains the social network methodology and informs potential recruiters that they will be requested to recruit individuals from their social, sexual or drug-using networks whom they believe to be at high-risk of HIV infection. Following the training period, the recruiter begins to locate network associates to be referred to our testing site. Confirmatory HIV tests are also available at the Friends Community Center site. Participants (both those who test HIV negative and positive) are then linked to appropriate medical, social, psychological, CRCS and other needed services. Network associates who then wish to become recruiters are assessed for eligibility and appropriateness.