Social networks, vulnerability, and sex: Improving HIV case finding among key populations

Webinar hosted by the LINKAGES project as part of the Key Populations: Evidence in Action series.

To access the audio recording of the webinar, please click here.


On October 5th, the USAID– and PEPFAR-supported LINKAGES project hosted the first webinar in a new webinar series entitled Key Populations: Evidence in Action. This inaugural webinar included presentations on social network interventions to improve HIV case finding among female sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs.

Stephen Mills, FHI 360/LINKAGES/Thailand
Introduction and the purpose of social networking interventions in the HIV cascade

Kiira Gustafson, Population Services International/Myanmar
Innovative active HIV case finding in Myanmar for key populations: A focus on the most underprivileged and underserved groups

Olga Denisiuk, Alliance for Public Health/Ukraine
Optimized case finding as a strategy to improve the HIV care continuum for people who inject drugs

Wame Dikobe, FHI 360/LINKAGES/Botswana
How the enhanced peer outreach approach improved HIV yield among female sex workers and men who have sex with men in Botswana

This webinar series is intended to be a platform for (1) sharing state-of-the-art knowledge, emerging evidence, and promising practices for achieving greater impact on the HIV epidemic through programs for key populations; (2) addressing pressing questions and controversial issues from the perspective of key population experts and community members; and (3) fostering dialogue among a broad set of partners working in key-population-focused research, programming, and advocacy.

The webinars will cover a range of topics, including introduction and scale-up of HIV self-testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis for key populations; cascade monitoring and data use; information and communication technology-based interventions; effective strategies for addressing violence, stigma, and discrimination; differentiated models for delivering antiretroviral therapy; and community empowerment.

This webinar series is open to anyone interested in key populations, including program implementers, researchers, policy-makers, advocates, funders, and community members.

Call for papers: Optimizing the impact of key population programming across the HIV cascade

Written by Rose Wilcher, Director, Research Utilization, FHI 360

This blog post was originally featured on FHI 360’s R&E Search for Evidence.


Key populations – including men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, and people who inject drugs – shoulder a disproportionate burden of HIV. UNAIDS estimates that between 40 and 50 percent of all new HIV infections among adults worldwide occur in these key populations and among their sex partners. Reaching members of these communities with evidence-based interventions that improve their access to and uptake of services across the HIV prevention, care, and treatment cascade is essential to achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals. In this post, I highlight a new call for papers that will focus on new evidence and data-driven strategies for improving key population programming across the HIV cascade.obox1

Serious challenges exist for key populations when trying to access HIV services. The issues that drive the spread of HIV in key population communities and hinder their access to care – experiences of stigma, discrimination, violence and, in many cases, criminalization – have been well documented. The need to overcome these challenges has led to advances in the monitoring of key populations’ uptake of services across the cascade to identify “leaks” in the system, as well as more sophisticated analysis and use of those data to identify solutions and strengthen programming. In addition, a number of key population-focused implementation science studies are under way across a range of geographies to evaluate the effectiveness of new innovations, outreach strategies, and delivery modalities in overcoming structural obstacles and improving service uptake and retention with different key population groups.


An urgent need exists to take stock of this emerging evidence related to optimizing and monitoring service delivery for key populations. As key population programming is scaled up globally, it is critical that we maximize the public health impact of those efforts by bringing to bear the latest knowledge and evidence of what works to reach key populations and link them to the targeted prevention, treatment, and retention support they need.obox2

Together with USAID, the U.S. CDC, and amfAR, FHI 360’s LINKAGES project has issued a global call for papers for a special supplement of the Journal of the International AIDS Society.

The special supplement will feature a compilation of high-quality research from a range of multidisciplinary efforts to advance key population science and practice. Submission topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Best practices in data use to refine and focus interventions and services at the country level to reduce HIV transmission and improve the impact of national HIV programs for key populations.
  • Findings from implementation science studies that broaden our understanding of service delivery modalities that are effective at improving the reach of prevention services, the uptake of HIV testing, and retention in HIV care and treatment among key populations.
  • Evaluations of new innovations to enhance reach and engagement of key populations at different points along the HIV cascade.
  • Field-based policy and programmatic case studies of HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts for key populations, especially those that are meaningfully engaging or led by key population community members.

Key dates

For questions about the supplement, please contact FHI 360’s Rose Wilcher. Note the following key dates regarding the submission and application timelines.

call for papers

An invitation to submit an article is not a guarantee of publication. All editorial decisions regarding publication in the Journal will be based on the outcome of peer review.

Utilizing evidence and data-driven strategies for improving key population programming across the HIV cascade is critical to achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals. This special supplement of the Journal of the International AIDS Society will allow the HIV community to review emerging evidence related to optimizing and monitoring service delivery for key populations.