Social Network Strategy for HIV Testing Recruitment

Social Network Strategy (SNS) is an evidence-supported approach to engage and motivate a person to accept HIV testing. This approach is based on the underlying principle that persons within the same social network who know, trust, and can exert influence on each other share similar HIV risk behaviors.  SNS is particularly useful to recruit marginalized and/or hidden persons at risk for HIV.

About Social Network Strategy for HIV Testing Recruitment

The approach to SNS includes identifying persons who are HIV positive or at risk for HIV and enlisting them to become Recruiters.

Recruiters identify Network Associates (NAs) who are people in their social networks (e.g., friends, sex or drug-using partners, family members, etc.) who may be at risk for HIV. The Recruiters talk with the NAs they identify and encourage, refer, and/or accompany them to HIV testing.

Unlike peer advocates or peer educators, Recruiters are short term and require coaching rather than training and supervision.

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 two components:

  1. 1-hour pre-course video.*
  2. 1-day (6-hour) virtual, instructor-led training.
  3. Español language, 2-day (4 hours each day), virtual, instructor-led training also available.

*Participants will receive a link to the pre-course video via email approximately two weeks before the virtual, instructor-led training.

To view and register for scheduled virtual, instructor-led 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.