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USAMRD-A/N, NMOD Set to Roll out Social Network Testing: A Peer-driven Approach for Efficient HIV Case-finding
In line with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 95–95–95 fast-track targets for 2030, and PEPFAR’s focus on improved case finding, Social Network Testing (SNT) can be a strategic approach for case identification of new cases of HIV infection.
The Social Network Testing Program is an approach for peer-driven HIV Testing Services (HTS) through a set of individuals linked by one or more specific types of relationships. SNT is a recruitment strategy for reaching and providing HTS to persons unaware of their HIV status by using social network connections to locate individuals potentially at risk of HIV infection, leveraging on the use of incentives to encourage testing and recruitment of network associates.
The U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa/Nigeria (USAMRD-A/N) HIV Testing Services (HTS) program, in line with the guidance provided by PEPFAR for COP22, will partner with The Nigeria Ministry of Defence Health Implementation Programme (NMODHIP) to roll out SNT at 18 military program facilities as a testing approach in FY23 to improve case finding of HIV infection among men, adolescent, and other hard to groups with unknown HIV status.
As part of preparations for the rollout, capacity building on SNT has already been conducted for focal persons from 34 program sites to expose them to the principles, elements, and operations of SNT. Plans to make available all relevant resources required for the implementation and will work with the strategic information unit on the modality of reporting and documentation.
The program is set to roll out sometime in April 2023 with plans to provide an integrated package of services, including:
- Malaria test
- Urinalysis test
- HIV Testing Services
- Blood Pressure (BP) check
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Nutritional status
- HIV Care & Treatment
Weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting and reviews will be conducted to monitor the progress of the approach. It is expected that the approach will not only improve the uptake of HTS but will also enhance efficiency in the program’s case finding portfolio.