The influence of internalized stigma on the efficacy of an HIV prevention and relationship education program for young male couples

Brian A. Feinstein*, Emily Bettin, Gregory Swann, Kathryn Macapagal, Sarah W. Whitton, Michael E. Newcomb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Young MSM are at increased risk for HIV, especially in the context of serious relationships, but there is a lack of couplesbased HIV prevention for this population. The 2GETHER intervention-an HIV prevention and relationship education program for young male couples-demonstrated promising effects in a pilot trial. However, there is evidence that internalized stigma (IS) can influence treatment outcomes among MSM. The current study examined the influence of IS on the efficacy of the 2GETHER intervention among 57 young male couples. The intervention led to decreases in percentage of condomless anal sex partners and increases in subjective norms regarding HIV prevention for those with low/average IS, but not high IS. The intervention also led to increases in motivation to get tested with one’s partner and decreases in alcohol consumption for those with high IS, but not low/average IS. In contrast, IS did not moderate intervention effects on other motivational constructs, dyadic adjustment, or alcohol problems. In sum, IS influences the extent to which young male couples benefit from HIV prevention and relationship education depending on the outcome. Research is needed to understand how IS influences treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3847-3858
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • HIV prevention
  • Internalized stigma
  • Relationship education
  • Same-sex couples
  • Young men who have sex with men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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