We aim to describe the social network members of participants of a behavioural intervention, and examine how the effects of the intervention may spillover among network members.
Secondary analysis of a step-wedge randomised controlled trial.
Change agents (CAs) were recruited from waiting rooms of HIV treatment facilities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and their network members (NMs) were recruited directly by CAs.
We enrolled 662 CAs in an HIV behavioural intervention. They, along with 710 of their NMs, completed baseline and follow-up interviews from 2011 to 2013.
The primary outcome of this study was change in NMs’ HIV knowledge, and the secondary outcome was whether the NM was lost to follow-up.
At baseline, many characteristics were different between NMs and CAs. We found a number of NM characteristics significantly associated with follow-up of NMs, particularly female gender (OR=1.64, 95% CI: 1.02 to 2.63) and HIV knowledge (OR=20.0, 95% CI: 3.70 to 125); only one CA variable was significantly associated with NM follow-up: having a private source of water (OR=2.17, 95% CI: 1.33 to 3.57). The 14.2% increase in NMs’ HIV knowledge was largely due to CAs feeling empowered to pass on prior knowledge, rather than transmitting new knowledge to their NMs.
Characteristics of social network members of persons living with HIV persons living with HIV may play a role in study retention. Additionally, the HIV knowledge of these NMs increased largely as a function of CA participation in the intervention, suggesting that intervening among highly-connected individuals may maximise benefits to the potential population for whom spillover can occur.
Clinical Trial: NCT01693458; Post-results