Methods for recruiting men of color who have sex with men in prevention-for-positives interventions

Laura A. Hatfield, Margherita E. Ghiselli, Scott M. Jacoby, Anne Cain-Nielsen, Gunna Kilian, Tara McKay, B. R. Simon Rosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Men who have sex with men (MSM), especially MSM of color, are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS compared to heterosexuals and Caucasians. Nonetheless, fewer sexual and ethnic minorities participate in prevention interventions for people with HIV. We consider recruitment for Positive Connections, a randomized controlled trial comparing unsafe sex prevention interventions primarily for HIV-positive (HIV+) MSM in six US epicenters. One community-based organization (CBO) in each city recruited adult MSM, particularly men of color and HIV+. Recruitment methods included on-line and print advertising, outreach events, health professionals, and social networks. Data on demographics, HIV status, and recruitment method were collected at registration. We tested for differences in registration proportions and attendance rates by recruitment strategy, stratified on race/ethnicity and serostatus. Of the 1,119 registrants, 889 attended the intervention. The sample comprised 41% African American, 18% Latino/Hispanic, and 77% HIV+. Friend referral was reported by the greatest proportion of registrants, particularly among African American (33%) and HIV+ men (25%). Print advertising yielded the largest proportions of non-Hispanic white (27%) and HIV-negative registrants (25%). Registrants recruited on-line were the least likely to attend (45% versus 69% average); this effect was strongest among Latino/Hispanic (27% attendance) and non-Hispanic white men (36%). Retention during the follow-up period did not differ by serostatus, race/ethnicity, or recruitment method. Differential attendance and retention according to recruitment strategy, serostatus, and racial/ethnic group can inform planning for intervention sample size goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements Positive Connections was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Office on AIDS Research, grant #MH064412. The Positive Connections Team comprises faculty, staff, and students at the University of Minnesota; consultants from AIDS Service Organizations and other universities who provided specialist guidance and direction; and a national leadership team of HIV-positive gay and bisexual men who partnered with this project at every stage from conceptualization to submission of findings. As a multi-site trial, this study was conducted under the oversight of the University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board (IRB), study # 0302S43321, and five other community-based IRBs. We acknowledge with gratitude our community-based partners and staff who included Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago, IL, USA; Gay City Health Project, Seattle, WA, USA; Whitman Walker Clinic, Washington, DC, USA; Fenway Community Health Center, Boston, MA, USA; Gay Men’s Health Crisis, New York, NY, USA; AIDS Project Los Angeles and Black AIDS Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA; and Legacy Community Health Services, Houston, TX, USA.


  • HIV-positive
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Minorities
  • Recruitment


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