OBJECTIVE: People who inject drugs (PWID) have high hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection prevalence but low rates of HCV treatment uptake. To better harness the potential of peer-led social network-based interventions to increase HCV treatment uptake among PWID, simple tools that can help identify individuals with the potential to function effectively as peer-mentors who support network members to get HCV tested and linked to care are needed.
METHODS: Data from a survey administered to index PWID enrolled in a social network-based intervention, in which they were invited to recruit drug use network members for HCV testing and linkage to care, was analyzed. Constructs derived from exploratory factor analysis were validated through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). We used logistic regression analysis to assess the association between scores in identified constructs and subsequent effectiveness in the peer mentor role, defined as recruiting at least one network member for HCV testing and linkage to care in the 12 weeks following survey completion.
RESULTS: Among 100 PWID with median age 53 years, 74% male, and 71% Black, CFA resulted in a multidimensional three-factor survey with 4 questions related to opinion leadership, 3 questions related to perceived HCV-related stigma, and 3 questions related to HCV communication comfort and care support willingness. Only self-designated opinion leadership was associated with effectiveness in the peer mentor role (adjusted odds ratio 3.76 (95% Confidence interval CI 1.01, 14.0)).
CONCLUSION: We developed and validated a simple tool with potential to ease and improve the efficiency of peer-led social network interventions.
Validation of a tool to assess effectiveness of peer-recruitment for hepatitis C testing and linkage to care among people who inject drugs
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 230, 109177. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109177.