Social Network Strategy for HIV Testing Recruitment

Social Network Strategy (SNS) is an evidence-supported approach to identify, engage and motivate people with undiagnosed HIV infection to accept HIV testing. SNS is based on the underlying principles that people in the same social network share the same behaviors that increase the chances of getting or transmitting HIV, and, in addition, that people in the same social network know and trust each other.

SNS has been studied to be successful in reaching people engaged in sex work, men who have sex with men, and people who use drugs.

About Social Network Strategy for HIV Testing Recruitment

With SNS for HIV Testing Recruitment, agencies identify persons with HIV or have risk factors for HIV and enlist them to become Recruiters. Unlike peer advocates or peer educators, Recruiters are short-term volunteers and require little training and supervision. With the support of an SNS manager, Recruiters identify their Network Associates—people in their social networks (e.g., friends, sex or drug use partners, family members, etc.) who are at increased risk of getting or transmitting HIV. Recruiters then speak with their NAs and refer or accompany them to an agency where they can receive HIV testing services.

Recruiters and Network Associates receive compensation for their participation in the program.

Core Elements

Flowchart showing the 4 Phases of Social Network Strategy: Recruiter Enlistment, Engagement, Recruitment of Network Associates, and HIV Testing.

SNS Training

This training has one component:

  1. 2-day virtual, instructor-led training; or
  2. 2-day live classroom training
  3. Español language, 2-day, virtual, instructor-led training also available.

To view and register for scheduled trainings:

  1. Access the National HIV Classroom Learning Center training calendar hosted on Cicatelli Associates, Inc.’s (CAI’s) website.
  2. Pre-register for your selected course via the link provided in the training calendar.
  3. Complete your registration on CDC TRAIN as directed when you receive an email from the National HIV Classroom Learning Center. You must join the HIV CBA Learning Group and locate the HIV CBA Training Plan in order to complete your CDC TRAIN registration for a specific training session (step-by-step instructions are available).

To request that a training session be scheduled:

  1. CDC’s directly funded health department and CBO partners may request delivery of a CDC-supported training by submitting a request in the CBA Tracking System.
  2. Organizations not directly funded by CDC may contact their local health department for assistance in submitting a training request.

If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact

Implementation and Marketing Materials

The materials and resources listed below support the implementation and/or marketing of Social Network Strategy for HIV Testing Recruitment by health departments, community-based organizations, and health care or other organizations. The resources are evidence-based and designed for cost-effective, scalable implementation.