Sampling Methodologies for Epidemiologic Surveillance of Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Women in Latin America: An Empiric Comparison of Convenience Sampling, Time Space Sampling, and Respondent Driven Sampling

February 2015 - Epidemiology

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Clark, J. L., Konda, K. A., Silva-Santisteban, A., et al. AIDS and Behavior (December 2014), Volume 18, Issue 12, pp. 2338-2348.

This pilot evaluation compared convenience sampling (CS), time space sampling (TSS), and respondent-driven sampling (RDS) for recruiting and enrolling men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TW) for epidemiological surveillance in Lima, Peru. A total of 748 participants were recruited through CS, 233 through TSS, and 127 through RDS. The authors reported both advantages and drawbacks for each strategy. CS was effective at recruiting a large number of participants within a brief time and exacted minimal resource requirements. However, CS lacked the statistical representation necessary for population-level estimates of HIV and STI prevalence and associated risk behaviors. RDS recruitment resulted in a large number of non-productive seeds and a small number of recruitment waves, which made it inefficient and potentially not valid in population estimates. TSS was effective in recruiting a large number of participants from previously under-sampled populations over a brief time frame, but was limited by a low rate of participant enrollment. The authors concluded that researchers should take into consideration the characteristics of MSM and TW social networks and community structures when making decisions about which sampling methods to use.

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