High Impact Prevention

Connect is a six 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.


The target population for Connect is heterosexual women or men, 18 and over and their main sexual partners.

Research and Development

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.

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 male and female partners together in three to five facilitated sessions.
  • Emphasizing the relationship as the target of change: redefining sexual risk reduction from individual protection to protecting and preserving the relationship between two intimate partners: "protecting us."
  • Discussing ideas about relationship fidelity and the need to reduce HIV/STI risk among couples.
  • Identifying how gender differences, stereotypes, and power imbalances influence safer sex decision-making and behaviors.
  • Using video-based scenarios to model good communication and negotiation of safer sex to stimulate discussions and role-plays.
  • Using modeling, role-play, and feedback to teach, practice, and promote mastery in couple communication, negotiation, and problem-solving and social support enhancement.
  • Applying couple communication, negotiation, problem-solving, and goal-setting skills to the learning, performance, and maintenance of behaviors to reduce HIV/STI risk.

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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO