Respondent driven sampling is an effective method for engaging methamphetamine users in HIV prevention research in South Africa.

Journal Article

South Africa, in the midst of the world's largest HIV epidemic, has a growing methamphetamine problem. Respondent driven sampling (RDS) is a useful tool for recruiting hard-to-reach populations in HIV prevention research, but its use with methamphetamine smokers in South Africa has not been described. This study examined the effectiveness of RDS as a method for engaging methamphetamine users in a Cape Town township into HIV behavioral research.Standard RDS procedures were used to recruit active methamphetamine smokers from a racially diverse peri-urban township in Cape Town. Effectiveness of RDS was determined by examining social network characteristics (network size, homophily, and equilibrium) of recruited participants.Beginning with eight seeds, 345 methamphetamine users were enrolled over 6 months, with a coupon return rate of 67%. The sample included 197 men and 148 women who were racially diverse (73% Coloured, 27% Black African) and had a mean age of 28.8 years (SD=7.2). Social networks were adequate (mean network size >5) and mainly comprised of close social ties. Equilibrium on race was reached after 11 waves of recruitment, and after ≤3 waves for all other variables of interest. There was little to moderate preference for either in- or out-group recruiting in all subgroups.Results suggest that RDS is an effective method for engaging methamphetamine users into HIV prevention research in South Africa. Additionally, RDS may be a useful strategy for seeking high-risk methamphetamine users for HIV testing and linkage to HIV care in this and other low resource settings.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kimani, SM; Watt, MH; Merli, MG; Skinner, D; Myers, B; Pieterse, D; MacFarlane, JC; Meade, CS

Published Date

  • October 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 143 /

Start / End Page

  • 134 - 140

PubMed ID

  • 25128957

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-0046

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0376-8716

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.07.018


  • eng