USF Health

Connect to Protect® (C2P) is an innovative and exciting approach to battling the growing rates of HIV among our nation’s youth.  Connect to Protect® Tampa Bay (C2PTB) is a program in the University of South Florida’s Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease that links researchers with community agencies and other community groups. Our goal is to help strengthen and support the work that those organizations and groups are already doing to reduce the rate of HIV infection among local 12 to 24 year olds youth.


Connect to Protect® (C2P): Partnerships for Youth Prevention Interventions is a multi-site*, three-phase project developed by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN).  The ATN’s mission encompasses the full spectrum of HIV research needs for pre-adolescents, adolescents, and young adults up to age 25. This ranges from primary prevention—including HIV-1 prevention vaccine trials when available—to clinical management of those already infected with the virus.  One ATN objective is to develop, implement, and evaluate community-based HIV prevention interventions for youth at risk for acquiring the disease.  The purpose of Connect to Protect (C2P): Partnerships for Youth Prevention Interventions is to collect the data required to initiate and maintain partnerships with local Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), agencies, and individuals so that a community mobilization intervention can be effectively put into action, evaluated, and sustained. 


C2P, grounded in theoretical principles related to community mobilization, community involvement, and community capacity building, consists of four phases.


Phase I:  

          Developed epidemiological profile of HIV risk factor using mapping software

          Established community partnerships

          Resource Directory


Phase II:

          Held Working Group Meetings

          Conducted community assessments to determine venues of high risk where youth hang out

          Conducted trainings in preparation for Phase III


Phase III:

          Formalized a coalition

          Focused on bringing about Structural Changes to establish an HIV safety net the community

          Implement CDC PROMISE Intervention locally know as LIPSS (Ladies, In charge, Powerful, Secure, and Safe)


Phase IV:

         Community Coalition and Root Cause Analysis

         Uses the Connect to Protect models to expand reach of structural change

         Focus on Treatment as Prevention through better linking youth to care

         development of a substudy SMILE to monitor linkage to care

         Using data to effect community viral loads