Improving Young Male Couples’ Sexual and Relationship Health in the 2GETHER Program

Intervention Techniques, Environments of Care, and Societal Considerations

Kathryn Rose Macapagal*, Brian Feinstein, Jae A. Puckett, Michael Newcomb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Young male couples are at high risk for acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, few HIV prevention programs meet the needs of young male couples that express an interest in how to maintain healthy relationships. As such, we developed 2GETHER, a couple-based program that integrates HIV risk reduction and sexual health information into a relationship education program specific to young male couples. 2GETHER was guided by cognitive-behavioral theories of HIV risk reduction and relationship functioning and was informed by a social–ecological perspective to address factors within and outside the couple that can impact sexual and relationship health. As a micro-level intervention, 2GETHER intervenes directly with couples via psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral strategies to change couples’ communication patterns, sexual health behaviors, and relationship satisfaction. Successful implementation of 2GETHER requires mezzo-level interventions that create an affirming environment of care for sexual minority individuals and facilitators who are culturally competent in working with young male couples. Although macro-level interventions to change societal acceptance of and policies germane to sexual minority couples are beyond the scope of 2GETHER, we discuss how clinicians can advocate for systemic changes to improve sexual minority couples’ health, and how 2GETHER addresses the impact of such macro-level factors on the couple's relationship. Our experience developing and testing 2GETHER indicates that HIV prevention programs for young male couples should reflect the unique contexts shaping sexual minority individuals’ relationships and lives, and that programs should intervene within and across multiple levels when possible to improve health for sexual minority men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-269
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

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Reproductive Health
HIV
Risk Reduction Behavior
Minority Health
Health Behavior
Sexual Behavior
Communication
Sexual Minorities

Keywords

  • HIV/AIDS
  • couples
  • relationship education
  • social–ecological systems
  • young men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "Young male couples are at high risk for acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, few HIV prevention programs meet the needs of young male couples that express an interest in how to maintain healthy relationships. As such, we developed 2GETHER, a couple-based program that integrates HIV risk reduction and sexual health information into a relationship education program specific to young male couples. 2GETHER was guided by cognitive-behavioral theories of HIV risk reduction and relationship functioning and was informed by a social–ecological perspective to address factors within and outside the couple that can impact sexual and relationship health. As a micro-level intervention, 2GETHER intervenes directly with couples via psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral strategies to change couples’ communication patterns, sexual health behaviors, and relationship satisfaction. Successful implementation of 2GETHER requires mezzo-level interventions that create an affirming environment of care for sexual minority individuals and facilitators who are culturally competent in working with young male couples. Although macro-level interventions to change societal acceptance of and policies germane to sexual minority couples are beyond the scope of 2GETHER, we discuss how clinicians can advocate for systemic changes to improve sexual minority couples’ health, and how 2GETHER addresses the impact of such macro-level factors on the couple's relationship. Our experience developing and testing 2GETHER indicates that HIV prevention programs for young male couples should reflect the unique contexts shaping sexual minority individuals’ relationships and lives, and that programs should intervene within and across multiple levels when possible to improve health for sexual minority men.",
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