A systematic review of the social network strategy to optimize HIV testing in key populations to end the epidemic in the United States


The United States (U.S.) has a plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. The plan’s first pillar prioritizes HIV testing. Social Network Strategy (SNS) is an intervention to reach persons not routinely testing for HIV. We conducted a systematic review of SNS to understand its implementation to optimize HIV testing in the U.S. among key populations. The eligibility criteria included peer-reviewed papers based in the U.S. and focused on HIV testing. We identified and thematically analyzed 14 articles to explore factors associated with successful implementation. Key themes included: (1) social network and recruiter characteristics; (2) strategies for and effectiveness of recruiting key populations; (3) use of and types of incentives; (4) trust, confidentiality, and stigma concerns; and (5) implementation plans and real-world guidance. Cohort studies indicated that SNS detects more incident HIV cases. Partnerships with health departments are critical to confirm new diagnoses, as are developing plans that support recruiters and staff. SNS is a promising strategy to optimize HIV testing among key populations.


Stojanovski K, Naja-Riese G, King EJ, Fuchs JD




  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • People who use drugs
    • Ethnoracial communities
    • General HIV+ population
  • Testing
    • Testing


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