Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) has become a preferred sampling strategy for HIV research and surveillance in many global settings. Methodological investigation into the validity of RDS-generated samples has helped improve theoretical components of design. However, the operational challenges of implementing RDS remain underreported. We sought to identify factors independently associated with productive recruiting in an urban RDS-generated sample of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Data were collected from the Momentum Health Study, a cohort of MSM recruited by RDS in Vancouver, Canada. Eligible men were given up to six RDS coupons to recruit their peers. The primary outcome was a count variable of each participant’s number of eligible recruits. Multivariable Poisson regression identified independent predictors of productive recruitment. In total, 719 individuals comprised this analysis, of which 119 were seeds. The distribution of eligible recruits was right skewed, with 391 (54.4 %) having never recruited another participant and only eight participants (1.1 %) having recruited five. Significant, independent predictors of recruiting one additional participant included network size per ten unit increase (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 1.03), being of Aboriginal race/ethnicity compared with White (aRR 1.51), being HIV-positive (aRR 1.31), being sexually active with only males (aRR 2.48), being single compared with common law/married (aRR 1.37), having recently read gay newspapers (aRR 1.58), having recently sought sex partners online (aRR 1.33) and being out to a male parent (aRR 1.30). This analysis demonstrates the importance of social network size in RDS adjustment, but also identifies other socio-demographic and behavioral variables that increased RDS coupon return, which may help researchers better operationalize the implementation of RDS.
HIV Gay and bisexual men MSM Respondent-driven sampling RDS Recruitment
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The authors would like to thank the Momentum Study participants, office staff and community advisory board, as well as our community partner agencies, the Health Initiative for Men, YouthCO HIV, and HepC Society of BC, and the Positive Living Society of BC. Momentum is funded through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant #R01DA031055-01A1) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (Grant # MOP-107544). NJL is supported by a CANFAR/CTN Postdoctoral Fellowship. DMM is supported by a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
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