P-17 Community Recruitment into a Cross-sectional Survey Involving HIV Testing in Beira, Mozambique: Lessons Learned Rildo Rafael,1 Juliana L. Conjera,2 Selma Mussa,1 Josefo J. Ferro,1 Ivete Meque,1 Karine Dubé,2 Jeannet Bos,3 Janneke van de Wijgert,3 Paul J. Feldblum2 1 Centro de Investigação de Doenças Infecciosas, Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM), Beira, Mozambique 2Family Health International (FHI), Research Triangle Park, Durham, NC and FHI/Mozambique Country Office, Maputo, Mozambique 3Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Center for Poverty-related Communicable Diseases, The Netherlands Background Recruitment of study candidates for HIV prevention studies may be challenging when it involves HIV testing and collection of blood samples. HIV-associated stigma and myths about how researchers use blood collected during research pose formidable obstacles both to recruitment and retention. As part of a project to build clinical research capacity in Beira, Mozambique, the newly created Center for Infectious Disease Research, affiliated with the Catholic University of Mozambique (UCM), began an HIV prevalence and incidence study that aims to recruit women at higher risk for HIV acquisition. Materials and Methods Recruitment methods include: n Community appraisals n Community meetings that involve local leaders n Meetings with nongovernmental organizations n Cooperation with local health post centers n Mapping of local risk areas and sites where high-risk partnerships form (i.e., fishing markets) The sampling frame takes into account the size of certain neighborhoods, the presence of bars and markets (considered ‘high-risk’ places), and the presence of specific economic Fishing Village in Beira, Mozambique (Photo by Karine Dubé/FHI) activities (i.e., fishing markets). Trained community volunteers recruit potential study candidates each day. Recruitment targets are women with higher-risk sexual behavior who are between ages 18-35, whose HIV status is unknown, and who are not currently participating in another HIV study. Women who are willing to consider enrollment into the study undergo a detailed informed consent process prior to enrollment, and are re-informed about important study features during follow-up visits, as needed. Results The most important early lesson learned is that community recruitment staff must convey very clearly how and why HIV testing is done. Thus far, messages related to ‘confidence,’ ‘trust,’ ‘sincerity,’ and ‘motivation’ contributed positively to recruitment into the study. Still, some women refused to participate because of negative ideas about HIV testing or misperceptions around blood draw. To these women, blood means life and strength, and taking blood means taking a portion of that life and strength. Community volunteers need to dispel prevailing views that associate HIV testing with ‘horror,’ ‘fear,’ and ‘death.’ To meet this goal, volunteers received extensive training that equipped them to deliver consistent and correct messages. To dispel myths about HIV testing even further, study staff have invited community volunteers into the laboratory to observe how they Community Engagement Team (Photo by Karine Dubé/FHI) process blood specimens so that they can convey accurately to potential study participants how the specimens are used, and that they are intended for study purposes only. Day-time recruitment of study candidates seems feasible thus far, even though higherrisk encounters take place mostly at night (i.e., in bars). Early study results are summarized in an accompanying poster. Conclusions The biggest recruitment hurdles that community volunteers face are fear of HIV testing in the community and concerns about misuse of blood specimens. Study staff are taking steps to address these issues. As a result, enrollment is accelerating.