Individual and Social Network Structure Characteristics Associated with Peer Change Agent Engagement and Impact in a PrEP Intervention.
Walsh T., Schneider JA., Ardestani BM., Young LE.
Interventions that utilize the influence of peer change agents (PCAs) have been shown to be effective strategies for engaging key populations in HIV prevention. To date, little is known about the characteristics of PCAs associated with their effectiveness. Drawing on data from a peer leader PrEP intervention for young Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) (N = 423), we evaluated the effects of experiential (i.e., living with HIV, PrEP awareness, PrEP use), psychographic (i.e., self-perceived leadership, innovativeness), and network (i.e., degree centrality, eigenvector centrality, and brokerage) characteristics on three effectiveness outcomes: (1) recruiting peers into the study; (2) completing "booster" sessions; and (3) linking peers to PrEP care. For each outcome, multivariable regressions were performed. On average, PCAs recruited 0.89 peers, completed 1.99 boosters, and had 1.33 network peers linked to PrEP care. Experiential factors: Prior PrEP awareness was positively associated with booster completion. Network factors: Being a network broker (i.e., connecting otherwise disconnected communities) was positively associated with peer recruitment but negatively associated with linking peers to PrEP, and degree centrality (i.e., the number of network connections someone has) and eigenvector centrality (i.e., being connected to well-connected network associates) were positively associated with linking peers to PrEP. Psychographic characteristics were not associated with any outcome. These findings can be used to inform PCA selection and to identify subpopulations who require additional support to excel as PCAs.