Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 94, Issue 4, pp 587–591 | Cite as

Comparison of Three Popular Methods for Recruiting Young Persons Who Inject Drugs for Interventional Studies

  • Melissa G. CollierEmail author
  • Richard S. Garfein
  • Jazmine Cuevas-Mota
  • Eyasu H. Teshale
Brief Report


Persons who inject drugs (PWID) are at risk for adverse health outcomes as a result of their drug use, and the resulting social stigma makes this a difficult population to reach for interventions aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality. During our study of adult PWID aged ≤40 years living in San Diego during 2009 and 2010, we compared three different sampling methods: respondent-driven sampling (RDS), venue-based sampling at one syringe exchange program (SEP), and street-based outreach. We compared demographic, socioeconomic, health, and behavioral factors and tested participants for HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) and compared across the three methods. Overall, 561 (74.8%) of the targeted 750 PWID were enrolled. Venue-based convenience sampling enrolled 96% (242/250) of the targeted participants, followed closely by street-based outreach with 92% (232/250) recruited. While RDS yielded the fewest recruits, producing only 35% (87/250) of the expected participants, those recruited through RDS were more likely to be female, more racially diverse, and younger.


Persons who inject drugs Hepatitis C virus Study recruitment Intervention Substance abuse Research studies 



The authors sincerely appreciate the study participants of STAHR for their contributions to this important research, as well as current and past researchers and staff. The study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Cooperative agreement number 200-2007-21016. None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to report.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

CDC Disclaimer

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa G. Collier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard S. Garfein
    • 2
  • Jazmine Cuevas-Mota
    • 2
  • Eyasu H. Teshale
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of Viral HepatitisCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaGeorgia
  2. 2.Division of Global Public Health, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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