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The recruitment and retention of high risk youth in HIV/AIDS clinical trials in post-conflict Liberia


There are significant international efforts to reach high risk urban youths with effective HIV/AIDS prevention programs. However, such efforts have been hampered by challenges associated with the recruitment and retention of high risk urban youths in post-conflict environments. In this presentation, we provide recommendations for effective program implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa.


We conducted a community-based randomized controlled trial (RCT) of an HIV prevention program to that of a comparison health program among 709 high risk urban youths in Monrovia, Liberia. Recruitment and recruitment strategies were based on community norms and cultural acceptance, and further driven by the inputs of the targeted population.


Of 709 participants recruited into the RCT, we successfully retained 98% after one month, 94% after 3 months, and 95% after 6 months, respectively. We expect to retain about 94% after 12 months.


Community-based participatory-driven research method is an important strategy to promote, support and sustain the recruitment and retention of high risk populations in post-conflict environments.


Support for this project was obtained from grants [R01 HD 045133 and R21 MH 082666] from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Woods, D.V., Kennedy, S.B., Gobeh, M. et al. The recruitment and retention of high risk youth in HIV/AIDS clinical trials in post-conflict Liberia. Retrovirology 6 (Suppl 2), P96 (2009).

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