The aim of this study was to test (1) the feasibility and effectiveness of respondent-driven sampling (RDS) for further implementation in the prospective studies in Australia; (2) the representativeness of the RDS sample, and (3) the new data collection instrument.
HIV/STI risk behaviour of gay men has been well-studied, but networks of gay men and how they affect men’s HIV risk were less well understood. This project aimed to pilot test among Australian men a new data collection methodology, respondent-driven sampling. The study recruited 100 men in Sydney using chain referral and the rationed referral approach.
Supplementary funding was requested from NSW Health to enrol an additional 200 men. This allowed statistical analyses of data and enabled a quantitative comparison of samples obtained by traditional convenience and RDS sampling. If successful, this recruitment methodology will be further used in multi-centre studies of gay men’s networks.
Dr Iryna Zablotska