NIMH link to Lynae Darbes' project in South Africa has been updated.
Local, National, and Global HIV/AIDS Research & Resources | Spring 2019
HIV Prevention and Care Engagement among Couples
Romantic and sexual relationships are increasingly becoming a focus in HIV prevention research. Learn more about our couples research, which includes HIV serodiscordant and seroconcordant couples, gender and sexual minority couples, heterosexual couples, and new research instruments.
In This Issue

  1. Local projects
  2. International projects
  3. Research instruments for couples
  4. National Black and Youth Days: Research and Resources Booklets and faculty research videos
  5. Announcements
  6. Technical Assistance
Local projects

Mallory Johnson’s current study, DuoPACT, is built on years of formative work documenting couples-based effects on engagement in care among HIV serodiscordant and seroconcordant positive couples. This two-arm RCT study compares a couples-based medication adherence intervention (DuoPACT) to an established individual medication adherence intervention (LifeSteps). The DuoPACT intervention, guided by Social Control Theory, aims to leverage couple's ongoing support for each other's health and medication adherence by improving the couple's communication, goal setting, and problem solving. The outcomes are engagement in HIV care and virologic suppression of HIV-infected partners. Visit study recruitment website.

HIV/AIDS among Black men is a public health crisis, and it is urgent to increase research and intervention development. Judy Tan and colleagues developed a mobile application with an overall objective of achieving a better understanding of the role that dyadic factors play in individual-level HIV care engagement outcomes among Black men living with HIV in romantic relationships. Subsequently, researchers are now developing an intervention that employs innovative mobile technology to target partnership dynamics that optimize outcomes in the HIV care continuum.

Transgender women are disproportionately affected by HIV. One of the most consistently reported contexts of HIV transmission among transgender women is within primary partnerships. Jae Sevelius , Kristi Gamarel (Visiting Scholar), and Don Operario (former Visiting Scholar) are leading a study to test the efficacy of a couples-based HIV prevention intervention for transgender women and their partners. This efficacy trial is based on Don Operario’s promising pilot intervention, which was endorsed by the CDC as the first “good” evidence-based intervention for transgender individuals. Learn more about CHIP .
International projects

Research on the HIV care continuum (CC) in sub-Saharan Africa has largely focused on structural and individual-level barriers and facilitators, overlooking important interpersonal factors within heterosexual couples. With funding from the NIMH, Amy Conroy is conducting a mixed-methods study on dyadic aspects of engagement in the HIV CC among heterosexual couples in Malawi to: 1) describe how relationship context influences engagement in the HIV CC; 2) identify relationship-level barriers and facilitators that affect engagement in the HIV CC; and, 3) develop a preliminary intervention to improve engagement in the HIV CC for Malawian couples. Preliminary findings indicated the importance of alcohol use, intimate partner violence, couple communication, and household economics as important determinants. These determinants will provide a focus for an economically-based and relationship-strengthening intervention that will be targeted to couples.
Recent studies in sub-Saharan Africa found 60-94% of new HIV infections are occurring within marriage or co-habiting heterosexual partnerships, signaling the need for HIV prevention interventions that target couples. Lynae Darbes’ RCT study tested the efficacy of a behavioral intervention aimed to increase couples-based HIV counseling and testing (CHTC) in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Couples who received counseling were more likely to engage in CHTC compared to couples with no counseling. The attendance and retention rates were extremely high (over 90%), thus demonstrating the interest in improving communication and relationship dynamics among couples in the area, and underscoring the need for couples-focused services in this context. 
Research Instruments for Couples

Qualitative interviews with male couples led to the development of the MBA scale, which measures relationship quality and sex life. Men whose sexual agreements were highly motivated by relationship enhancement were less likely to engage in sexual risk with outside partners regardless of agreement type. HIV-prevention interventions targeting male couples will benefit from incorporating an understanding of couples’ agreement motivations. HIV-prevention interventions would benefit from understanding the motivations behind sexual agreements among male couples. (D. Chakravarty, L. Darbes, & T. Neilands, CAPS/PRC)

A substantial number of new HIV infections occurs in the context of primary partnerships. Given the diversity of risk reduction needs and various approaches available for reducing risk within couples, researchers present a novel, comprehensive, and flexible CR-HIV approach for integrating evolving biomedical and behavioral HIV prevention strategies into couples-based HIV prevention intervention and survey research. Researchers provide illustrative examples of the utility of the CR-HIV approach based on couples’ HIV status. (D. Chakravarty, T. Neilands, & L. Darbes, CAPS/PRC)
National HIV/AIDS Awareness Days - 
Research and Resources

These brochures list CAPS/PRC research and helpful resources for:

Questions? Contact Daryl Mangosing at
The CFAR Future Leaders in HIV Annual Research Symposium is happening on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 from 8:00 AM-1:30 pm in the Mahley Auditorium at the Gladstone Institutes.
Congratulations to John Sauceda (DPS Faculty) for receiving the Excellence Award in Behavioral Science! He will be presenting along with Paul Wesson (TAPS Fellow) in the CFAR Symposium.
National Transgender Health Summit is happening this weekend from April 13-14, 2019 at the Oakland Marriott City Center! There will be two pre-conferences on April 12: PrEP for Transgender Communities and Transgender Medicine, Surgery, and Mental Health Care Clinician Training Institute .
CAPS/PRC, Alliance Health Project, and the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health represented at the National HIV Prevention Conference held by the CDC in Atlanta, GA!
CDC is pleased to announce the new  Prevention Research Center (PRC) network for the 2019-2024 funding cycle . The PRC program will fund 25 academic institutions to conduct applied public health prevention research. The UCSF PRC has been re-funded!
CAPS Community Town Hall presents HIV Support with Black Men: "The Brothers Groups" with Jesse Brooks from AIDS Healthcare Foundation on April 23, 2019, from 12:-1 PM at Mission Hall - room MH-3700. Jesse is also a current member of our Community Advisory Board.
Welcome to our new DPS staff! James Wendelborn and Alexander (Alé) Vazquez (PrEP Coordinators for Parya Saberi)
The mission of Center for AIDS Prevention Studies is to end the HIV epidemic and associated health and social disparities by conducting high impact HIV prevention science and building capacity among researchers and communities to effectively address HIV.  Project #: 2P30MH062246

The mission of the UCSF Prevention Research Center is to maintain an interdependent network of community, academic, and public health partners to design and implement prevention research aimed at answering significant and innovative HIV research questions and promoting the wide use of practices proven to promote health for those infected and affected by HIV.  Project #: 5U48DP004998