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.
C2PTB has been in existence since 2006 and works with youth, parents, schools, agencies and others to ensure that youth in Tampa Bay are safe, healthy and aware of resources.
C2PTB also works to educate communities about novel biomedical and behavioral intervention for HIV. Since 2012, C2P has been working with the Adolescent Trials Network to discuss the use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The network will soon be releasing reports on the 48 week protocol with 18-22 year old young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Additional studies include the Strategic Multisite Initiative for Identification, Linkage and Engagement (SMILE) which links newly diagnosed youth to care within 42 calendar days.