Recruiting Minority Men Who Have Sex With Men for HIV Research: Results From a Four-City Campaign
July 19, 2006
"Minorities are not only more disproportionally infected by HIV but also less likely to participate in HIV studies," the authors wrote, citing research indicating that blacks are less likely than Hispanics or whites to take part in such studies.
"Research has shown that minority communities have a low level of trust in government officials and researchers," wrote the authors. They cited a study that found "the distrust generated by the Tuskegee Syphilis Study lent credibility to the view that HIV is a pathogen that was created by the government to destroy the Black community." "The extent of the association between actual knowledge of unethical or questionable conduct and decisions about whether to participate in a study remains unknown. However, distrust does exist," the researchers wrote.
In the current article, the authors examined the various recruitment methods used by the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), which recently completed a successful campaign to recruit into an ongoing epidemiological study black and Hispanic men who have sex with men (MSM) in Baltimore/Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Pittsburgh.
"Recruiting minority men into HIV studies requires careful planning by members of the targeted community and professionals who are knowledgeable, experienced, and competent in minority issues, community organization, and social marketing," the authors found, though they added that "these individuals may not have had formal training in recruitment. ..."
"Including knowledgeable minority members during the earliest stages of planning was the most important factor in our successful recruitment of men," the authors wrote.
"Researchers often begin planning recruitment campaigns by focusing on promotional activities; however, these are the last activities that need to be planned. Data from focus groups, interviews, and simple conversations with study participants and members of the community advisory boards were indispensable, because they identified the perceived costs and benefits to potential study participants. Once these costs and benefits were fully understood, staff were then able to design the products most sought by the participants.
"The research site's location and hours were important, and information about study participants' preferences should be gathered through formative research. The building and neighborhood must be perceived as safe and easily accessible," they wrote. "Existing minority [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] agencies were invaluable sources of study participants, and they provided credibility to the recruitment effort."
"The preparation of promotional materials depended on the quality of data gathered during the formative research, particularly data on products and the costs and benefits associated with participating in the study," according to the authors. "Promotional materials that highlight issues perceived to be important by targeted community members will obviously be more persuasive than materials that address issues perceived to be significant by investigators."
American Journal of Public Health
06.06; Vol. 96; No. 6: P. 1020-1027; Anthony J. Silvestre, Ph.D.; John B. Hylton, Ph.D.; Lisette M. Johnson, Sc.D.; Carmoncelia Houston, R.N., M.A.; Mallory Witt, M.D.; Lisa Jacobson, Ph.D.; David Ostrow, M.D.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.