High Impact Prevention

Connect is a three session, relationship-based intervention that teaches couples techniques and skills to enhance the quality of their relationship, communication, and shared commitment to safer behaviors. The program is based on the AIDS Risk Reduction Model, which organizes behavior change into three phases-recognizes risk, commit to change, and act on strategies-and on the Ecological Perspective which emphasizes the personal, relational, and societal influences on behavior. Connect integrates techniques commonly used in family therapy, which will allow couples to work together to solve shared problems.


Connect is designed for heterosexual and MSM couples, living with or at risk for HIV/STIs.

Research and Development

El-Bassel, N., Gilbert, L., Wu, E., Witte, S., Chang, M., Hill, J., Remien, R.H. (2011). Couple-based HIV prevention for low income drug users from New York City: a randomized controlled trial to reduce dual risk. JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 58 (2), 198-206 

El-Bassel, N., Witte, S., Gilbert, L., Wu E., Chang, M., Hill, J., and Steinglass, P. (2003). The efficacy of a relationship-based HIVSTD prevention program for heterosexual couples. American Journal of Public Health 93(6):963-969.

El-Bassel, N., Jemmott, J. B., Landis, J. R., Pequegnat, W., Wingood, G. M., Wyatt, G. E., & Bellamy, S. L. (2010). National Institute of Mental Health multisite Eban HIV/STD prevention intervention for African American HIV serodiscordant couples: a cluster randomized trial. Archives of Internal Medicine, 170(17), 1594-1601. PMCID: 20625011

The NIMH Multisite HIV Prevention Trial Group (Witte, Co-investigator, New York site). (2008). Methodological overview of an African American couple-based HIV/STD prevention trial. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 49, s3-s14. 

The NIMH Multisite HIV Prevention Trial Group (Witte, Co-investigator, New York site). (2008). Eban HIV/STD risk reduction intervention: Conceptual basis and procedures. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 49,s15-s27. 


Program Review Panel Information

The CDC requires all CDC-funded agencies using the Connect intervention to identify, or establish, and utilize a Program Review Panel and complete Form 0.1113 to document this activity. The intervention researchers and developers are not involved in this activity. This is a CDC requirement for their grantees, and all questions in this regard should be directed to your agency's CDC Project Officer or to the health department funding your agency's implementation of the intervention.

The Program Review Panel guidelines, instructions for completion of Form 0.113, and the form itself are available under the Related Links section of the this website.

CDC Policy on Youth Peer Outreach Workers

CDC funded (directly or indirectly) agencies using youth (either paid or volunteer) in program outreach activities need to use caution and judgement in the venues/situations where youth workers are placed. Agencies should give careful consideration to the "age appropriateness" of the activity or venue. Additionally, agencies should comply with all relevant laws and regulations regarding entrance into adult establishments/environments. Laws and curfews should be clearly outlined in required safety protocols developed and implemented by agencies directly and indirectly funded by CDC.

If you have specific questions, please contact your CDC project officer.

More Info

CONNECT Elements

  • Working with sexual and/or drug using partners together in structured, facilitated sessions emphasizing the relationship as the focus of change. 
  • Creating a prevention and/or risk reduction strategy customized to the partners' relationship history, characteristics and agreements. 
  • Identifying how gendered expectations, stereotypes, stigma and power imbalances influence decisions regarding behavioral and biomedical prevention approaches. 
  • Using modeling, practice, and goal setting to promote mastery in communication, negotiation, problem-solving and social support enhancement within partnerships to reduce risks. 

  • Enhancing skills to navigate family, community and structural-level barriers that impact risk reduction and access to care. 
  • Facilitating linkage to care and other needed services to address co-occurring issues. 

The materials on this site are designed for HIV/AIDS prevention with persons at risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV. They are meant to be resources used by HIV prevention providers such as health departments and community-based organizations so as to provide the best evidence-based HIV prevention services. These materials are not meant for the general public. They are not meant for children. They are not school-based HIV prevention strategies.

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