Influential Network Agents and Leaders

As part of promotional activities, RZHRG recruits influential community leaders -- such as clergy, clinic staff, traditional healers, birth attendants, and policy leaders -- to advocate for Couples Voluntary Counseling and Testing (CVCT) and help increase demand for services. These Influence Network Agents (INAs) are trusted community members, able to provide culturally sensitive support for CVCT services. They are paid to lead and/or participate in promotional activities, and their success is determined by the number of couples they recruit to participate in CVCT. Factors that impact the success of these agents are also measured, including locations/setting in which invitations are delivered and the availability of CVCT services in the area. Information gained from these measurements assists RZHRG in determining the best ways to maximize future outreach efforts.

RZHRG - Influential Network Agents

Out of over 125,000 invitations distributed, over 17,000 couples attended Couples Voluntary Counseling and Testing. Over 10,000 of these came from invitations by network agents. Out of the over 12,000 couples tested, 2,301 were found to be discordant- with one partner HIV positive and one partner HIV negative.

RZHRG - Influential Network Agents

Comparing Kigali and Lusaka, this graph clearly indicates that in Lusaka, the INAs are the primary promotional method (72.5%), whereas in Kigali couples previously tested are spreading the word (56.8%). In both Kigali and Lusaka the second most effective promotional method was radio (47.7% and 26.5% respectfully).

Influential network agents were useful in promoting RZHRG’s Couples Voluntary Counseling and Testing plan in both Rwanda and Zambia.


• Approximately 25 million Africans are HIV+ and 225 million adults are HIV- and married, at risk of acquiring HIV within their marriages.

•The U.S. government spends $2.2 billion annually – 10 percent of the entire U.S. bilateral foreign aid budget -- to provide antiretroviral therapy to 3 million Africans.

•Treating one ART patient over the course of 10 years costs about $7000.

•The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that five new people are infected by HIV for every two who receive antiretroviral therapy (ART).

RZHRG - Influential Network Agents