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A Dyadic Behavioral Intervention to Optimize Same Sex Male Couples ’ Engagement Across the HIV Care Continuum: Development of and Protocol for an Innovative Couples-based Approach (Partner Steps)

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ABSTRACT

Background: An estimated one- to two-thirds of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among US men who have sex with men (MSM) occur within the context of primary partnerships. Thus, HIV interventions that recognize and harness the power of relationships are needed. Increasingly, HIV prevention efforts are being directed toward improving engagement across the HIV care continuum from testing to linkage to care, antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, engagement in care, and viral suppression. However, to our knowledge, no behavioral interventions have attempted to address the HIV care continuum using a dyadic approach.

Objective: The objective of this paper is to describe the development of and protocol for an innovative couples-based approach to improving treatment adherence and engagement in care among HIV serodiscordant and concordant HIV-positive same sex male couples in the United States.

Methods: We developed the Partner Steps intervention by drawing from relationship-oriented theory, existing efficacious individual-level ART adherence interventions, couple-focused HIV prevention interventions, and expert consultation. We incorporated new content to address all aspects of the HIV care continuum (eg, linkage to and retention in care) and to draw on relationship strengths through interactive activities.

Results: The resulting theory-based Partner Steps intervention is delivered by a trained bachelors-level counselor (interventionist) over 2 in-person sessions with male-male dyads in which at least 1 partner has recent suboptimal engagement in HIV care. Each session is designed to use relationship strengths to increase motivation for HIV care and treatment, and cover sequential intervention “steps” relating to specific challenges in HIV care engagement and barriers to ART adherence. For each step, couples work with a trained interventionist to identify their unique challenges, actively problem-solve with the interventionist, and articulate and commit to working together to implement a plan in which each partner agrees to complete specific tasks.

Conclusions: We drew on theory and evidence to develop novel intervention strategies that leverage strengths of relationships to address engagement across the entire HIV care continuum. We provide details on intervention development and content that may be of use to researchers as well as medical and mental health professionals for whom a dyadic approach to HIV prevention and care may best suit their patient population.

No MeSH data available.


Partner Steps intervention content for the HIV care continuum.
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figure2: Partner Steps intervention content for the HIV care continuum.

Mentions: The intervention sessions are structured to cover the following topics: introduction and background, preadherence or adherence steps (specific modules), and review and planning. The manual is also “tracked,” allowing the interventionist to do a quick inventory at baseline (Figure 2; Table 2) to determine where the couple needs to begin. Depending on how far couples have progressed along the HIV care continuum, couples either receive preadherence or adherence steps, and the interventionist can also administer “booster sessions” at 6-month interval follow-up visits to quickly review all material covered in the first session, allowing the couple to receive as many needed “steps” as possible (eg, the dyad needs to cover more than six steps in one session). The manual uses simplified language (ie, layman’s terms) to relate to the broadest audience possible and to avoid distracting or confusing language and unnecessary detail. Lastly, the manual includes worksheets or “takeaways” where participants write down solutions to their adherence blocks and can reference these, facilitating the usage of Partner Steps material outside of the sessions.


A Dyadic Behavioral Intervention to Optimize Same Sex Male Couples ’ Engagement Across the HIV Care Continuum: Development of and Protocol for an Innovative Couples-based Approach (Partner Steps)
Partner Steps intervention content for the HIV care continuum.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5016626&req=5

figure2: Partner Steps intervention content for the HIV care continuum.
Mentions: The intervention sessions are structured to cover the following topics: introduction and background, preadherence or adherence steps (specific modules), and review and planning. The manual is also “tracked,” allowing the interventionist to do a quick inventory at baseline (Figure 2; Table 2) to determine where the couple needs to begin. Depending on how far couples have progressed along the HIV care continuum, couples either receive preadherence or adherence steps, and the interventionist can also administer “booster sessions” at 6-month interval follow-up visits to quickly review all material covered in the first session, allowing the couple to receive as many needed “steps” as possible (eg, the dyad needs to cover more than six steps in one session). The manual uses simplified language (ie, layman’s terms) to relate to the broadest audience possible and to avoid distracting or confusing language and unnecessary detail. Lastly, the manual includes worksheets or “takeaways” where participants write down solutions to their adherence blocks and can reference these, facilitating the usage of Partner Steps material outside of the sessions.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: An estimated one- to two-thirds of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among US men who have sex with men (MSM) occur within the context of primary partnerships. Thus, HIV interventions that recognize and harness the power of relationships are needed. Increasingly, HIV prevention efforts are being directed toward improving engagement across the HIV care continuum from testing to linkage to care, antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, engagement in care, and viral suppression. However, to our knowledge, no behavioral interventions have attempted to address the HIV care continuum using a dyadic approach.

Objective: The objective of this paper is to describe the development of and protocol for an innovative couples-based approach to improving treatment adherence and engagement in care among HIV serodiscordant and concordant HIV-positive same sex male couples in the United States.

Methods: We developed the Partner Steps intervention by drawing from relationship-oriented theory, existing efficacious individual-level ART adherence interventions, couple-focused HIV prevention interventions, and expert consultation. We incorporated new content to address all aspects of the HIV care continuum (eg, linkage to and retention in care) and to draw on relationship strengths through interactive activities.

Results: The resulting theory-based Partner Steps intervention is delivered by a trained bachelors-level counselor (interventionist) over 2 in-person sessions with male-male dyads in which at least 1 partner has recent suboptimal engagement in HIV care. Each session is designed to use relationship strengths to increase motivation for HIV care and treatment, and cover sequential intervention “steps” relating to specific challenges in HIV care engagement and barriers to ART adherence. For each step, couples work with a trained interventionist to identify their unique challenges, actively problem-solve with the interventionist, and articulate and commit to working together to implement a plan in which each partner agrees to complete specific tasks.

Conclusions: We drew on theory and evidence to develop novel intervention strategies that leverage strengths of relationships to address engagement across the entire HIV care continuum. We provide details on intervention development and content that may be of use to researchers as well as medical and mental health professionals for whom a dyadic approach to HIV prevention and care may best suit their patient population.

No MeSH data available.