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The Use of Supplementary Techniques to Increase Recall of Sex Partners in a Network-Based Research Study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Sexually Transmitted Diseases: July 2008 - Volume 35 - Issue 7 - p 674-678
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31816b323d

Objective: To evaluate supplementary cueing as a technique to increase recall of sex partners in the year before the interview.

Goal: Recall of partners beyond those freely recalled.

Study Design: We asked volunteers at a clinic in Brazil to freely recall all regular and casual sex partners in the year before the interview. Then, we used a name generator developed by Brewer et al. in the United States, in which volunteers were prompted with 4 types of cues: location, alphabetic, social role, and network. We calculated different measures to evaluate the technique and analyzed the associations between reporting any additional partner and demographic characteristics.

Results: Among volunteers reporting 2 or more sexual partners (n = 590), 41 (7%) recalled 1 or more additional partners by using the supplementary technique, with 105 partners of 2090 (5%) recalled only after using the cues. For volunteers reporting 4 or more sexual partners (n = 193), 34 (18%) recalled 1 or more additional partners by using the supplementary technique, and 98 of 1177 (8%) of their sexual partners were recalled after using the cues. Men were less likely than women to report sex partners after prompting with the social role cues (OR 0.09), and overall the combined techniques were slightly less effective for older individuals (OR 0.95).

Conclusion: The cue technique can improve sexual partners' recall in cultural contexts different than the United States, mainly for individuals already reporting several partners before the cue.

A study of clients in an HIV Counseling and Testing Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found that use of standardized supplementary cueing techniques improved recall of their sexual partners.

From the *Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland; †Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; ‡Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland; §Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; ∥Projeto Praça Onze, Hospital Escola São Francisco de Assis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil; ¶Infectious Diseases Service, Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil; and #Department of Preventive Medicine, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

The authors thank the Fogarty International Center for financial support to one of the authors (A.R.S.P.) through a Doctorate training scholarship (AIDS International Training and Research Program/AITRP, National Institutes of Health Research Grant D43-TW001041). The authors acknowledge and thank Dr. Devon D. Brewer for kindly reviewing the final draft of the manuscript.

Supported by John E. Fogarty International Center – the AIDS International Training Research Program (AITPR) (to A.R.S.P.), and the Small Research Grant (1 R03 TW006876-01A1) from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

Correspondence: André R.S. Périssé, MD, PhD, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rua Leopoldo Bulhões 1480, Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil. E-mail:

Received for publication October 31, 2007, and accepted January 24, 2008.

© Copyright 2008 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association