2GETHER

2GETHER is an innovative HIV prevention and relationship education program for young male couples. 2GETHER is unique in that it integrates both group-based and individualized couple sessions and addresses the needs of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative young men.

We are currently running two efficacy trials of 2GETHER, funded by the National Institutes of Health through an R01 and DP2 mechanism. The R01 is an in-person, attention-matched randomized controlled trial, while the DP2 is a comparative effectiveness trial comparing 2GETHER to existing public health practice. Both implementations emphasize couples-based strategies addressing the full continuum of HIV prevention and care.

Steady or main partner relationships account for a large number of new HIV infections in YMSM [1,2], and 2GETHER utilizes couples- and group-based design to address HIV transmission risk in couples regardless of serostatus. The intervention concentrates on enhancing various relationship factors, such as communication and coping skills, to address HIV transmission risk within the context of romantic relationships. Participants in 2GETHER will be randomized into one of two study arms and in the study over the course of 12 months.

Over the course of four sessions, couples learn to utilize behavioral and biomedical approaches to prevent both HIV acquisition and transmission, with an overarching emphasis on improving relationship functioning. 2GETHER helps build relationships skills while encouraging couples-based HIV testing for HIV-negative and unknown status YMSM, and addressing medication adherence and barriers to care for HIV+ YMSM. 2GETHER builds on the benefits of romantic relationships to promote mental, behavioral, and physical health.

2GETHER’s specific aims are:

  • Test the efficacy of the 2GETHER couples-based intervention in an RCT that meets CDC criteria for “best evidence interventions”;
  • Examine change in engagement in the HIV continuum of care in 2GETHER compared to control.

2GETHER is a collaboration between the University of Cincinnati Department of Psychology and Howard Brown Health Center. We are currently in the content development and intervention refinement phase, with recruitment for the RCT scheduled to begin in Spring 2017.

Investigator: Dr. Michael Newcomb
Co-investigator: Drs. Kathryn Macapagal, Judith MoskowitzBrian Mustanski, and Sarah Whitton (Cincinnati)
Funder: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Award Numbers R01AA024065 & 1DP2DA042417-01


[1] Goodreau SM, Carnegie NB, Vittinghoff E, et al. What drives the US and Peruvian HIV epidemics in men who have sex with men (MSM)? PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50522. PMCID: PMC3510067

[2] Sullivan PS, Salazar L, Buchbinder S, Sanchez TH. Estimating the proportion of HIV transmissions from main sex partners among men who have sex with men in five US cities. AIDS. 2009;23(9):1153-1162.