Article

Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 73-82

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

An Analysis of Respondent Driven Sampling with Injection Drug Users (IDU) in Albania and the Russian Federation

  • Ame StormerAffiliated withEvaluation, Surveillance and Research Division, Family Health International
  • , Waimar TunAffiliated withEvaluation, Surveillance and Research Division, Family Health International
  • , Lisa GuliAffiliated withEvaluation, Surveillance and Research Division, Family Health InternationalEvaluation, Surveillance and Research Division, Family Health International Email author 
  • , Arjan HarxhiAffiliated withFaculty of Medicine, Department of Infectious Disease, Tirana University
  • , Zinaida BodanovskaiaAffiliated withSaint-Petersburg Non-Governmental Organization of Social Projects “Stellit”
  • , Anna YakovlevaAffiliated withSaint-Petersburg Non-Governmental Organization of Social Projects “Stellit”
  • , Maia RusakovaAffiliated withSaint-Petersburg Non-Governmental Organization of Social Projects “Stellit”
  • , Olga LevinaAffiliated withSaint-Petersburg Non-Governmental Organization of Social Projects “Stellit”
  • , Roland BaniAffiliated withInstitute of Public Health, Ministry of Health
    • , Klodian RjepajAffiliated withInstitute of Public Health, Ministry of Health
    • , Silva BinoAffiliated withInstitute of Public Health, Ministry of Health

Abstract

Injection drug users in Tirana, Albania and St. Petersburg, Russia were recruited into a study assessing HIV-related behaviors and HIV serostatus using Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS), a peer-driven recruitment sampling strategy that results in a probability sample. (Salganik M, Heckathorn DD. Sampling and estimation in hidden populations using respondent-driven sampling. Sociol Method. 2004;34:193–239). This paper presents a comparison of RDS implementation, findings on network and recruitment characteristics, and lessons learned. Initiated with 13 to 15 seeds, approximately 200 IDUs were recruited within 8 weeks. Information resulting from RDS indicates that social network patterns from the two studies differ greatly. Female IDUs in Tirana had smaller network sizes than male IDUs, unlike in St. Petersburg where female IDUs had larger network sizes than male IDUs. Recruitment patterns in each country also differed by demographic categories. Recruitment analyses indicate that IDUs form socially distinct groups by sex in Tirana, whereas there was a greater degree of gender mixing patterns in St. Petersburg. RDS proved to be an effective means of surveying these hard-to-reach populations.

Keywords

Albania Injection drug users Respondent driven sampling.