for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
by Mallory O. Johnson, PhD
Headshot of Mallory O. Johnson
Mallory O. Johnson



This is a randomized controlled trial of a new behavioral intervention designed to improve engagement in HIV care for couples. Investigators will compare the HIV viral load outcomes of couples randomized to a couples-based adherence intervention (DuoPACT) or to an individual adherence intervention (LifeSteps).

Official Title

A Couples-based Approach to Improving Engagement in HIV Care


The investigators will test the intervention to improve HIV care engagement by enrolling 150 sexual or gender minority couples and randomizing 75 couples each to one of two conditions: 1) DuoPACT, a newly-developed couples intervention; or 2) LifeSteps, a standardized antiretroviral adherence intervention for HIV+ individuals. After randomization, intervention sessions will be delivered weekly (6 DuoPACT sessions, or 3 Life Steps sessions). All couples will be assessed pre/post intervention to evaluate intervention effects via behavioral indicators of engagement in HIV care, the couple's relationship dynamics, and the primary outcome of HIV viral load.


HIV/AIDS Treatment Adherence Intervention Sexual and Gender Minority Couples Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome HIV Infections DuoPACT LifeSteps


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  1. 18+ years old;
  2. Identifies as a sexual or gender minority;
  3. In a primary romantic relationship for at least 3 months;
  4. At least one partner is HIV+;
  5. English-speaking;
  6. Able to provide informed consent; and
  7. For HIV+ participants: Evidence of suboptimal engagement in HIV care.

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Must be able to consent to and follow study protocol;
  2. Evidence of severe cognitive impairment or active psychosis;
  3. Lives outside California or plans to relocate from the state of California in the next 6 months; or
  4. Participation in the DuoPACT pilot.


  • Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
    San Francisco California 94158 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF

  • Mallory O. Johnson, PhD
    I am a licensed clinical health psychologist, whose research has focused on understanding, measuring, and improving the health of patients with chronic diseases such as HIV. My program of multidisciplinary collaborative research is focused on improving HIV treatment outcomes through patient empowerment. My teaching mission is primarily achieved through my mentoring of early career investigators.


in progress, not accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Study Type
At least 288 people participating
Last Updated