The You & Me Study

Principal Investigator: Colleen Hoff, PhD

Project Website:

Who we are:

You & Me is being conducted in San Francisco at San Francisco State University’s Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality, and in New York City at Columbia University. The study aimed to explore relationship power and other dynamics among Black, White, and interracial Black/White couples. This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and was conducted under Principal Investigator, Dr. Colleen Hoff.

Study team members:

Chadwick Campbell, Project Director

Deepalika Chakravarty, Statistician

Terry D. Dyer, Recruitment Coordinator

Carla Garcia, Research Assistant

Sara Finlayson, Research Assistant

Jaih McReynolds, Research Assistant

Study Objective:

The objective of our study was to better understand the impact of some contextual factors on HIV risk. Specifically, we sought to explore relationship power dynamics, and issues such as sex and sexuality, masculinity, race, experiences of racism and homophobia, communication, relationship satisfaction, and agreements about sex, among gay male couples.

Where we are now:

Data collection for the study was completed in April 2015. There were three phases of the study: Phase 1 was a qualitative study to explore issues about relationship power, race, gender, masculinity, agreements and other relationship dynamics on HIV risk. Themes from these interviews informed the development of a Relationship Power Scale specifically for gay couples (Phase 2). The scale was pilot tested and then a cross-sectional study was conducted (Phase 3) to validate the instrument and determine how power is associated with risk.

Why we are doing this research:

Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for the majority of the United States’ cases HIV, and Black and White men account for the vast majority of those cases. While most research has focused on individual MSM, about half of Gay men are estimated to be in relationships. This study builds on previous research in the ongoing Gay Couples Study that has found that agreements between partners are important to reducing HIV risk. You & Me will examine other relationship dynamics and attempt to understand what impact these dynamics have on HIV risk behaviors.


This study was made possible by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, MH 089276.