In the absence of a vaccine or cure for HIV infection, behavioral risk reduction and treatment adherence (HIV Testing Together, initiation of pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP] or post-exposure [PEP] for HIV negative persons or anti-retroviral treatment [ART] adherence for HIV positive persons) represents the best public health tools for prevention of HIV transmission. ConnectHIP (High Impact Prevention) is an innovative, 3-session, couple-based intervention tailored to target the intersection of sexual risk behavior and substance use among racial/ethnic and sexual minorities, with the ultimate goal of providing an evidence-based HIV/STI prevention intervention that can be delivered in a variety of settings.
The Social Intervention Group (SIG) at the Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) funded by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with Danya International, Inc. adapted and is disseminating a couple-based HIV prevention behavioral intervention, ConnectHIP, for African American men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender, HIV discordant and substance using couples. Directed by Timothy Hunt, along with Drs. Nabila El-Bassel and Elwin Wu, this project includes the development of ConnectHIP with new content and high definition video models of up-to-date biomedical HIV and other STI prevention options, care linkages and adherence strategies along with cognitive-behavioral skills for couples at highest risk for HIV.
Building on over two decades of couples work of the SIG investigative and research team, together with the CDC diffusion team, ConnectHIP is being launched for national implementation with two pilot trainings, a train-the-trainer with national capacity-building providers and summit promoting couples-based HIV/STI prevention. Hunt stated, “We are so excited at SIG to experience and examine, using an implementation framework, ConnectHIP utilized in real-world settings to engage communities disproportionately affected by HIV. Already implementing organizations include those from Fla, NY, NJ, GA, TX, and the Virgin Islands. For the first time African American MSM and trans couples will experience video images that affirmatively reflect their relationships while supporting skills development to negotiate safer behaviors.”
See below for excerpts of the videos: