AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 12, Supplement 1, pp 105–130 | Cite as

Using Respondent-Driven Sampling Methodology for HIV Biological and Behavioral Surveillance in International Settings: A Systematic Review

  • Mohsen MalekinejadEmail author
  • Lisa Grazina Johnston
  • Carl Kendall
  • Ligia Regina Franco Sansigolo Kerr
  • Marina Raven Rifkin
  • George W. Rutherford
Original Paper


To determine operational and analytical characteristics of respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in international settings and to explore factors that may affect recruitment of most-at-risk populations using RDS, we reviewed HIV biological and behavioral surveillance studies that used this method outside of the United States. We identified 123 eligible studies, 59 from Europe, 40 from Asia and the Pacific, 14 from Latin America, seven from Africa and three from Oceania. Studies collectively recruited 32,298 participants between 2003 and 2007; 53% of studies were conducted among injecting drug users, which generally had faster recruitment compared with studies among sex workers. All but 13 studies reached ≥90% of their intended sample size, and six studies failed to reach equilibrium for key variables. This review has shown that RDS is an effective technique, when designed and implemented appropriately, to sample most-at-risk populations for HIV biological and behavioral surveys.


HIV/AIDS Most at risk populations Respondent-driven sampling Biological and behavioral surveillance 




The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of donor agencies. We would like to thank the individual investigators and organizations that generously shared their information with us or assisted in locating principal investigators (Appendix). We would like to extend our special gratitude to Family Health International; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global AIDS Program; and the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of World Health Organization, which contributed to this project through sharing information from several studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohsen Malekinejad
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lisa Grazina Johnston
    • 3
  • Carl Kendall
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ligia Regina Franco Sansigolo Kerr
    • 5
  • Marina Raven Rifkin
    • 2
  • George W. Rutherford
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Global Health SciencesUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.College of Health and Social ServicesNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  5. 5.Faculty of MedicineFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil

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