Publications by authors named "Sari L Reisner"

222 Publications

A Uniquely Targeted, Mobile App-Based HIV Prevention Intervention for Young Transgender Women: Adaptation and Usability Study.

J Med Internet Res 2021 Mar 31;23(3):e21839. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Fenway Institute, Boston, MA, United States.

Background: Young transgender women (YTW) are a key population for HIV-related risk reduction, yet very few interventions have been developed to meet their needs. Mobile health interventions with the potential for both efficacy and wide reach are a promising strategy to reduce HIV risk among YTW.

Objective: This study aims to adapt an efficacious group-based intervention to a mobile app, Project LifeSkills, to reduce HIV risk among YTW, and to test its acceptability and usability.

Methods: The group-based intervention was adapted to a mobile app, LifeSkills Mobile, with input from an expert advisory group and feedback from YTW collected during user-centered design sessions. A beta version of the app was then tested in a usability evaluation using a think-aloud protocol with debriefing interviews, recordings of screen activity, and assessments of usability via the Post-Study System Usability Questionnaire (PSSUQ) and the Health Information Technology Usability Evaluation Scale (Health-ITUES).

Results: YTW (n=8; age: mean 24 years, SD 3 years; racial or ethnic minority: 7/8, 88%) provided feedback on the app prototype in design sessions and then tested a beta version of the app in a usability trial (n=10; age: mean 24 years, SD 3 years; racial or ethnic minority: 8/10, 80%). Both usability ratings (Health-ITUES: mean 4.59, SD 0.86; scale range: 1-5) and ratings for satisfaction and accessibility (PSSUQ: mean 4.64, SD 0.90; scale range 1-5) were in the good to excellent range. No functional bugs were identified, and all mobile activities were deployed as expected. Participant feedback from the usability interviews indicated very good salience of the intervention content among the focal population. Participants' suggestions to further increase app engagement included adding animation, adding audio, and reducing the amount text.

Conclusions: We conclude that the LifeSkills Mobile app is a highly usable and engaging mobile app for HIV prevention among YTW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/21839DOI Listing
March 2021

Opioid pain medication misuse, concomitant substance misuse, and the unmet behavioral health treatment needs of transgender and gender diverse adults.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2021 Mar 18:108674. Epub 2021 Mar 18.

The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, 1340 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02215, United States; Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, BOX 951772, 71-267 CHS, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, United States; Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, BOX 951772, 71-267 CHS, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, United States; UCLA Center for LGBTQ Advocacy, Research & Health, BOX 951772, 71-267 CHS, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, United States. Electronic address:

Background: Limited research has explored risk factors for opioid pain medication misuse, concomitant substance misuse, and the unmet behavioral health treatment (BHTx) needs of transgender and gender diverse (TGD) adults.

Methods: In 2019, TGD adults (N = 562) in Massachusetts and Rhode Island were purposively recruited and completed a psychosocial and behavioral health survey (95 % online; 5% in-person). Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with past 12-month opioid pain medication misuse and unmet BHTx needs.

Results: Overall, 24.4 % of participants were trans women; 32.0 % trans men; and 43.6 % were non-binary. Past-year substance misuse included: marijuana (56.8 %), hazardous drinking (37.5 %), hallucinogens (9.8 %), benzodiazepines (8.2 %), and opioid pain medication (8.0 %). Among participants with past-year substance misuse and BHtx need (n = 326), 81.3 % received BHtx and 18.7 % had unmet BHtx needs. Being a trans woman, having HIV, stigma in healthcare, and number of substances misused were associated with increased odds of past-year opioid pain medication misuse; high social connectedness was associated with decreased odds of opioid pain medication misuse (p-values<0.05). Younger age, stigma in healthcare, and misusing opioid pain medications were associated with increased odds of unmet BHTx needs; post-traumatic stress disorder and family support were associated with decreased odds of unmet BHtx needs (p-values<0.05).

Conclusions: Addressing disparities in opioid pain medication misuse among TGD people requires systematic improvements in healthcare access, including efforts to create TGD-inclusive BHtx environments with providers who are equipped to recognize and treat the social and structural drivers of TGD health inequities, including opioid pain medication misuse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108674DOI Listing
March 2021

Gender Affirmation as a Source of Resilience for Addressing Stigmatizing Healthcare Experiences of Transgender Youth of Color.

Ann Behav Med 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Background: Transgender and other gender diverse (TGD) youth of color experience stigma within healthcare. Gender affirmation can be a resilience resource; however, little is known about gender affirmation within healthcare.

Purpose: This study explores TGD youth of color's experiences of stigma and gender affirmation across the entire healthcare experience and their role on motivation to seek care.

Methods: In 2015, cross-sectional surveys and individual in-depth interviews were conducted among 187 TGD youth ages 16-24 living in 14 U.S. cities. Analyses followed a mixed-methods design whereby 33 participants were purposively selected for a qualitative phenomenological analysis based on quantitatively reported gender affirmation needs. Subsequent quantitative analyses examined how healthcare use differed by access to gender affirmation.

Results: Participants qualitatively described experiencing stigma across multiple healthcare settings (e.g., primary care, emergency care, medical gender affirmation), including before (finding providers, scheduling), during (waiting rooms, provider interactions), and after (pharmacy) healthcare visits. Participants who quantitatively reported access to gender-affirming healthcare still described negative healthcare experiences, either because they accessed multiple healthcare services or because of prior negative experiences. Stigma and gender affirmation (both inside and outside of healthcare) influenced motivation to seek care, with variation depending on the type of care. Quantitative analyses confirmed these findings; access to gender affirmation differed for participants who delayed primary care vs. those who did not, but did not vary based on participants' use of medical gender affirmation.

Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of promoting gender-affirming healthcare environments to increase access to care for TGD youth of color.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaab011DOI Listing
March 2021

Psychosocial Problems and Vulnerability to HIV in a Multi-City Prospective Cohort of Young Transgender Women in the United States: A Structural Equation Modeling Study.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2021 Apr;86(5):544-551

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI.

Background: Gender-based stigma contributes to increased HIV prevalence, but little is known about psychosocial mechanisms linking stigma and HIV risk among young transgender women (YTW).

Setting: This study uses data from Project LifeSkills, a randomized controlled efficacy trial of an empowerment-based HIV prevention intervention for YTW (N = 233). YTW were recruited in Boston, MA, and Chicago, IL, between 2012 and 2015 and completed study assessment visits at baseline and months 4 and 12.

Methods: Using autoregressive structural equation modeling, we examined whether poor social support and psychological distress at 4 months mediate the prospective relationship between gender-based stigma at baseline and condomless anal and vaginal sex (CAVS) acts at 4 and 12 months; all models were adjusted for treatment arm, HIV serostatus, study site, and sociodemographics.

Results: Gender-based stigma at baseline was directly associated with increased CAVS at 4 months [adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR) = 1.18, 95% confidence interval (CI): (1.05 to 1.33)] and 12 months [aIRR = 1.17, 95% CI: (1.02 to 1.34)]. Gender-based stigma was also associated with higher psychological distress at 4 months [b = 0.70, 95% CI: (0.13 to 1.27)], which in turn was marginally associated with increased CAVS at 12 months [aIRR = 1.03, 95% CI: (1.00 to 1.06)]. Contrary to expectations, poor social support at 4 months was associated with decreased CAVS at 12 months [aIRR = 0.40, 95% CI: (0.28 to 0.59)].

Conclusions: Future HIV prevention interventions with YTW should consider addressing experiences of gender-based stigma and the psychological distress that may ensue from gender-based stigma. More research is needed to understand the influence of poor social support on sexual behaviors in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002615DOI Listing
April 2021

Longitudinal Cohort Study of Gender Affirmation and HIV-Related Health in Transgender and Gender Diverse Adults: The LEGACY Project Protocol.

JMIR Res Protoc 2021 Mar 1;10(3):e24198. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, New York, NY, United States.

Background: Transgender and gender diverse (TGD) adults in the United States experience health disparities, especially in HIV infection. Medical gender affirmation (eg, hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries) is known to be medically necessary and to improve some health conditions. To our knowledge, however, no studies have assessed the effects of gender-affirming medical care on HIV-related outcomes.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate the effects of medical gender affirmation on HIV-related outcomes among TGD primary care patients. Secondary objectives include characterizing mental health, quality of life, and unmet medical gender affirmation needs.

Methods: LEGACY is a longitudinal, multisite, clinic-based cohort of adult TGD primary care patients from two federally qualified community health centers in the United States: Fenway Health in Boston, and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York. Eligible adult TGD patients contribute electronic health record data to the LEGACY research data warehouse (RDW). Patients are also offered the option to participate in patient-reported surveys for 1 year of follow-up (baseline, 6-month, and 12-month assessments) with optional HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing. Biobehavioral data from the RDW, surveys, and biospecimen collection are linked. HIV-related clinical outcomes include pre-exposure prophylaxis uptake (patients without HIV), viral suppression (patients with HIV), and anogenital STI diagnoses (all patients). Medical gender affirmation includes hormones, surgeries, and nonhormonal and nonsurgical interventions (eg, voice therapy).

Results: The contract began in April 2018. The cohort design was informed by focus groups with TGD patients (n=28) conducted between August-October 2018 and in collaboration with a community advisory board, scientific advisory board, and site-specific research support coalitions. Prospective cohort enrollment began in February 2019, with enrollment expected to continue through August 2020. As of April 2020, 7821 patients are enrolled in the LEGACY RDW and 1756 have completed a baseline survey. Participants have a median age of 29 years (IQR 11; range 18-82). More than one-third (39.7%) are racial or ethnic minorities (1070/7821, 13.68% Black; 475/7821, 6.07% multiracial; 439/7821, 5.61% Asian or Pacific Islander; 1120/7821, 14.32% other or missing) and 14.73% (1152/7821) are Hispanic or Latinx. By gender identity, participants identify as 33.79% (2643/7821) male, 37.07% (2900/7821) female, 21.74% (1700/7821) nonbinary, and 7.39% (578/7821) are unsure or have missing data. Approximately half (52.0%) of the cohort was assigned female sex at birth, and 5.4% (421/7821) are living with HIV infection.

Conclusions: LEGACY is an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the impact of medical gender affirmation on HIV-related health. The study uses a comprehensive research methodology linking TGD patient biobehavioral longitudinal data from multiple sources. Patient-centeredness and scientific rigor are assured through the ongoing engagement of TGD communities, clinicians, scientists, and site clinical staff undergirded by epidemiological methodology. Findings will inform evidence-based clinical care for TGD patients, including optimal interventions to improve HIV-related outcomes.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/24198.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/24198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7961399PMC
March 2021

The Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Cascade in At-Risk Transgender Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States.

LGBT Health 2021 Feb-Mar;8(2):116-124. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

This analysis was designed to characterize the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) cascade in a U.S. national sample of transgender men and trans masculine adults who have sex with cisgender men (trans MSM) at-risk for HIV acquisition. From November to December 2017, 843 HIV-negative trans MSM self-reporting past-6-month receptive sex with a cisgender man were recruited via peer referrals, dating apps, listservs, and social media. A computer-assisted self-interview assessed demographics, health care, and the PrEP cascade. Descriptive statistics and multivariable regression models evaluated factors associated with PrEP uptake and persistence. Mean age was 28.1 years (standard deviation = 7.1); 4.8% were Black, 21.7% Latinx, and 25.6% another race/ethnicity. A total of 84.1% had heard of PrEP, with 67.3% reporting interest. More than half (55.2%) were PrEP indicated, of which 50.8% were PrEP naive. Approximately 1/4 (28.0%) reported PrEP use, of which 65.3% were PrEP persistent. PrEP modality preferences were injectable (51.2%), daily oral pill (22.1%), and anal gel/lube (14.6%). Reasons for PrEP noninterest were no HIV risk (68.5%), cost (24.2%), and side effects (20.1%). Surgical gender affirmation, no health care discrimination, and social media as a primary health information source were associated with increased odds of PrEP uptake and persistence (all  < 0.05). PrEP adherence difficulties were reported by 52.6%, due to busy/inconsistent schedule (53.1%), side effects (27.4%), and too many medical visits (11.6%). PrEP uptake was modest among the trans MSM sampled, given prevalent HIV risk behaviors. The limited PrEP uptake in at-risk trans MSM suggests the need to develop culturally tailored community education and interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2020.0232DOI Listing
February 2021

Medical Gender Affirmation and HIV and Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention in Transgender Youth: Results from the Survey of Today's Adolescent Relationships and Transitions, 2018.

LGBT Health 2021 Feb 9. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

We assessed the association of receipt of medical gender affirmation services (e.g., hormones, surgery) with HIV and other sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention and knowledge indicators among transgender youth. A United States online sample of sexually experienced transgender youth ages 13-24 years ( = 1029) in 2018 completed a cross-sectional survey, including questions about sociodemographics, medical gender affirmation, and HIV and STD prevention outcomes (HIV testing, STD testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP] awareness, and nonoccupational postexposure prophylaxis [nPEP] awareness). Logistic regression models were fit to assess the association of medical gender affirmation with HIV and STD prevention outcomes. Interaction terms and stratified models assessed differences in the association between medical gender affirmation and outcomes by gender identity. Participants' mean age was 19.1 (standard deviation = 2.7), 45% were transgender female, 29% transgender male, 26% nonbinary, 53% were youth of color, and 19% accessed medical gender affirmation services. Medical gender affirmation was associated with increased odds of STD testing (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.90; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.33-2.73) with no significant interactions by gender identity. Associations between medical gender affirmation and awareness of PrEP and nPEP varied by gender identity. Among transgender male youth, medical gender affirmation was associated with awareness of PrEP (aOR = 2.65; 95% CI = 1.50-4.71) and nPEP (aOR = 2.03; 95% CI = 1.12-3.71). Among nonbinary youth, medical gender affirmation was associated with awareness of PrEP (aOR = 3.47; 95% CI = 1.26-11.27). Medical gender affirmation was associated with uptake and awareness of sexual health services. Bolstering medical gender affirmation for transgender youth may also bolster preventive health services broadly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2020.0367DOI Listing
February 2021

Perceived acceptability and feasibility of HIV self-testing and app-based data collection for HIV prevention research with transgender women in the United States.

AIDS Care 2021 Jan 23:1-9. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, MA, USA.

In the United States, transgender women are disproportionately burdened by HIV infection. Research aimed at curbing the HIV epidemic for this population may benefit from innovative technology to engage participants in research. Adult transgender women (n = 41) from six cities in the southern and eastern United States participated in seven online focus groups between August 2017 and January 2018. Analyses focused on perceived acceptability of novel technologies for research purposes, particularly HIV self-testing (HIVST) and remote data collection through a mobile app. While participants noted a number of benefits to HIVST and remote study participation, including increased participant engagement and sentiments of agency, they also expressed concerns that may impact HIVST and remote participation including housing instability, inconsistent access to technology, and confidentiality. Study findings provide insight into gaps that must be addressed when using technology-enhanced methods to support HIV testing and research participation among transgender women in the US. Substantial effort is required on the part of investigators to ensure equitable access across subgroups and, thus, minimize bias to avoid reproducing health disparities in research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2021.1874269DOI Listing
January 2021

The target/perpetrator brief-implicit association test (B-IAT): an implicit instrument for efficiently measuring discrimination based on race/ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, weight, and age.

BMC Public Health 2021 Jan 19;21(1):158. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: To date, research assessing discrimination has employed primarily explicit measures (i.e., self-reports), which can be subject to intentional and social desirability processes. Only a few studies, focusing on sex and race/ethnicity discrimination, have relied on implicit measures (i.e., Implicit Association Test, IAT), which permit assessing mental representations that are outside of conscious control. This study aims to advance measurement of discrimination by extending the application of implicit measures to multiple types of discrimination and optimizing the time required for the administration of these instruments.

Methods: Between September 27th 2019 and February 9th 2020, we conducted six experiments (984 participants) to assess implicit and explicit discrimination based on race/ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, weight, and age. Implicit discrimination was measured by using the Brief-Implicit Association Test (B-IAT), a new validated version of the IAT developed to shorten the time needed (from ≈15 to ≈2 min) to assess implicit mental representations, while explicit discrimination was assessed using self-reported items.

Results: Among participants (mean age = 37.8), 68.6% were White Non-Hispanic; 69% were females; 76.1% were heterosexual; 90.7% were gender conforming; 52.8% were medium weight; and 41.5% had an advanced level of education. Overall, we found implicit and explicit recognition of discrimination towards all the target groups (stronger for members of the target than dominant groups). Some exceptions emerged in experiments investigating race/ethnicity and weight discrimination. In the racism experiment, only people of Color showed an implicit recognition of discrimination towards the target group, while White people were neutral. In the fatphobia experiment, participants who were not heavy showed a slight implicit recognition of discrimination towards the dominant group, while heavy participants were neutral.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that the B-IAT is a valuable tool for quickly assessing multiple types of implicit discrimination. It shows also that implicit and explicit measures can display diverging results, thus indicating that research would benefit from the use of both these instruments. These results have important implications for the assessment of discrimination in health research as well as in social and psychological science.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10171-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814653PMC
January 2021

Young Transgender Women Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence: A Latent Class Analysis of Protective Processes.

Psychol Sex Orientat Gend Divers 2020 Dec 23;7(4):386-395. Epub 2020 Mar 23.

Division of Adolescent Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago,Chicago, Illinois.

Research is critically needed to understand protective processes that may lessen the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on negative outcomes for transgender individuals. The current study utilized a latent class analysis to identify combinations of protective processes (i.e., collective self-esteem and social support) in relation to internalizing mental health symptoms among young transgender women (YTW) survivors of IPV. Data from Project LifeSkills (2012-2015), a multisite trial for HIV sexual risk reduction intervention, were used for the present study. A subsample of 78 YTW (ages 16 to 29) who were IPV survivors (i.e., indicated lifetime IPV) were included in the analyses. Participants completed measures of general social support, perceived social support from their mother and friends, and collective self-esteem, as well as mental health symptoms. Three latent classes emerged: 1) YTW who perceived high levels of social support and collective self-esteem (48%), 2) YTW who perceived low levels of collective self-esteem, but average to high levels of social support from mother and friends (23%), and 3) YTW who perceived low levels of collective self-esteem and low to average levels of social support from mother and friends (29%). YTW in the overall low class had significantly higher levels of depressive, anxiety, and somatization symptoms, compared to the other two classes. These findings highlight how low levels of social support and collective self-esteem can place YTW survivors of IPV at significant risk for experiencing negative internalizing mental health symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000379DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7781223PMC
December 2020

Negative Transgender-Related Media Messages Are Associated with Adverse Mental Health Outcomes in a Multistate Study of Transgender Adults.

LGBT Health 2021 01 10;8(1):32-41. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which transgender people have observed negative transgender-related messages in the media and the relationship between negative media message exposure and the mental health of transgender people. In 2019, 545 transgender adults completed an online survey assessing demographics, negative transgender-related media messages, violence, and mental health. Separate multivariable logistic regression models examined the association of frequency of negative media exposure and clinically significant symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and global psychological distress. Mean age of the sample was 31.2 years (standard deviation [SD] = 11.2). Nearly half identified as nonbinary (42.2%), 82.0% were White, non-Hispanic, 56.9% had a college degree, and 67.0% were financially insecure. The majority reported experiencing childhood abuse (60.6%) and abuse in adulthood (58.0%). The mean frequency of exposure to negative transgender-related media was 6.41 (SD = 2.9) with 97.6% of the sample reporting exposure to negative media depictions of transgender people across a range of mediums. In separate multivariable models adjusted for age, gender identity, race, education, income, and childhood/adult abuse, more frequent exposure to negative depictions of transgender people in the media was significantly associated with clinically significant symptoms of depression (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.18; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.08-1.29;  = 0.0003); anxiety (aOR = 1.26; 95% CI = 1.14-1.40;  < 0.0001); PTSD (aOR = 1.25; 95% CI = 1.16-1.34;  < 0.0001); and global psychological distress (aOR = 1.28; 95% CI = 1.15-1.42;  < 0.0001). Exposure to negative media messages from multiple sources necessitates multilevel interventions to improve the mental health of transgender people and curb stigma at its source.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2020.0279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826438PMC
January 2021

Vulnerability to COVID-19-related Harms Among Transgender Women With and Without HIV Infection in the Eastern and Southern U.S.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2020 12;85(4):e67-e69

Department of Epidemiology,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.

Background: COVID-19 is a new pandemic, and its impact by HIV status is unknown. National reporting does not include gender identity; therefore, data are absent on the impact of COVID-19 on transgender people, including those with HIV. Baseline data from the American Cohort to Study HIV Acquisition Among Transgender Women in High Risk Areas (LITE) Study provide an opportunity to examine pre-COVID factors that may increase vulnerability to COVID-19-related harms among transgender women.

Setting: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, New York City, Washington, DC.

Methods: Baseline data from LITE were analyzed for demographic, psychosocial, and material factors that may affect vulnerability to COVID-related harms.

Results: The 1020 participants had high rates of poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, homelessness, and sex work. Transgender women with HIV (n = 273) were older, more likely to be Black, had lower educational attainment, and were more likely to experience material hardship. Mental and behavioral health symptoms were common and did not differ by HIV status. Barriers to health care included being mistreated, provider discomfort serving transgender women, and past negative experiences; as well as material hardships, such as cost and transportation. However, most reported access to material and social support-demonstrating resilience.

Conclusions: Transgender women with HIV may be particularly vulnerable to pandemic harms. Mitigating this harm would benefit everyone, given the highly infectious nature of this coronavirus. Collecting gender identity in COVID-19 data is crucial to inform an effective public health response. Transgender-led organizations' response to this crisis serve as an important model for effective community-led interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002490DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722524PMC
December 2020

Vulnerability to COVID-19-related Harms Among Transgender Women With and Without HIV Infection in the Eastern and Southern U.S.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2020 12;85(4):e67-e69

Department of Epidemiology,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.

Background: COVID-19 is a new pandemic, and its impact by HIV status is unknown. National reporting does not include gender identity; therefore, data are absent on the impact of COVID-19 on transgender people, including those with HIV. Baseline data from the American Cohort to Study HIV Acquisition Among Transgender Women in High Risk Areas (LITE) Study provide an opportunity to examine pre-COVID factors that may increase vulnerability to COVID-19-related harms among transgender women.

Setting: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, New York City, Washington, DC.

Methods: Baseline data from LITE were analyzed for demographic, psychosocial, and material factors that may affect vulnerability to COVID-related harms.

Results: The 1020 participants had high rates of poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, homelessness, and sex work. Transgender women with HIV (n = 273) were older, more likely to be Black, had lower educational attainment, and were more likely to experience material hardship. Mental and behavioral health symptoms were common and did not differ by HIV status. Barriers to health care included being mistreated, provider discomfort serving transgender women, and past negative experiences; as well as material hardships, such as cost and transportation. However, most reported access to material and social support-demonstrating resilience.

Conclusions: Transgender women with HIV may be particularly vulnerable to pandemic harms. Mitigating this harm would benefit everyone, given the highly infectious nature of this coronavirus. Collecting gender identity in COVID-19 data is crucial to inform an effective public health response. Transgender-led organizations' response to this crisis serve as an important model for effective community-led interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002490DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722524PMC
December 2020

State-Level Transgender-Specific Policies, Race/Ethnicity, and Use of Medical Gender Affirmation Services among Transgender and Other Gender-Diverse People in the United States.

Milbank Q 2020 09 18;98(3):802-846. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, University of Michigan.

Policy Points Protective transgender-specific policies (including those related to experiences of discrimination, health insurance coverage, and changing legal documents) are associated with increased access to medical gender affirmation services (hormone treatment, therapy/counseling) for transgender and other gender-diverse people. Restrictive transgender-specific policies are associated with less access to these services. The relationship between race/ethnicity and use of medical gender affirmation services varies across states and is context specific, indicating that race/ethnicity also plays a role in access to these types of care across states. Advocacy is needed to prevent or overturn restrictive policies and promote protective policies for transgender and other gender-diverse people, especially for people of color.

Context: In the 2010s, the number of federal, state, and local transgender-specific policies increased. Some of these policies advanced protections for transgender and other gender-diverse (TGGD) people, and others were restrictive. Little is known about the relationships between these policies and use of medical gender affirmation services (eg, hormone treatment, therapy/counseling), or about how these associations may vary among different racial and ethnic groups.

Methods: Multilevel modeling was used to examine the associations between state-level transgender-specific policies and the use of medical gender affirmation services among TGGD people in the United States. Data are from the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey of nearly 28,000 TGGD people. The medical gender affirmation services examined in this study were hormone treatment and therapy/counseling. The state policies we analyzed addressed discrimination, health insurance coverage, and changing legal documents; these policies were measured individually and as a composite index. Race/ethnicity was included in the multilevel regression models as a random slope to determine whether the relationship between race/ethnicity and the use of medical gender affirmation services varied by state.

Findings: Individual policies and the policy index were associated with both outcomes (use of therapy/counseling and hormone treatment services), indicating that protective policies were associated with increased care. Broad religious exemption laws and Medicaid policies that excluded transgender-specific care were both associated with less use of therapy/counseling, whereas transgender-care-inclusive Medicaid policies were associated with more use of therapy/counseling. Nondiscrimination protections that include gender identity were associated with increased use of hormone treatment services. The relationship between race/ethnicity and medical gender affirmation services varied across states.

Conclusions: State-level transgender-specific policies influence medical gender affirmation service use and seem to affect use by non-Hispanic white TGGD people and TGGD people of color differently. Advocacy is needed to repeal restrictive policies and promote protective policies in order to reduce health inequities among TGGD people, especially people of color.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12467DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7482380PMC
September 2020

COVID-19 Vulnerability of Transgender Women With and Without HIV Infection in the Eastern and Southern U.S.

medRxiv 2020 Jul 24. Epub 2020 Jul 24.

Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA.

Background: COVID-19 is a new global pandemic and people with HIV may be particularly vulnerable. Gender identity is not reported, therefore data are absent on the impact of COVID-19 on transgender people, including transgender people with HIV. Baseline data from the American Cohort to Study HIV Acquisition Among Transgender Women in High Risk Areas (LITE) Study provide an opportunity to examine pre-COVID vulnerability among transgender women.

Setting: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, New York City, Washington, DC.

Methods: Baseline data from LITE were analysed for demographic, psychosocial, and material factors that may affect risk for COVID-related harms.

Results: The 1020 participants had high rates of poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, homelessness, and sex work. Transgender women with HIV (n=273) were older, more likely to be Black, had lower educational attainment, and were more likely to experience material hardship. Mental and behavioural health symptoms were common and did not differ by HIV status. Barriers to healthcare included being mistreated mistreatment, uncomfortable providers, and past negative experiences; as well as material hardships, such as cost and transportation. However, most reported access to material and social support - demonstrating resilience.

Conclusions: Transgender women with HIV may be particularly vulnerable to pandemic harms. Mitigating this harm would have positive effects for everyone, given the highly infectious nature of this coronavirus. Collecting gender identity in COVID-19 data is crucial to inform an effective public health response. Transgender-led organizations' response to this crisis serve as an important model for effective community-led interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.21.20159327DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7386532PMC
July 2020

Initial Psychometric Evaluation of a Brief Sexual Functioning Screening Tool for Transmasculine Adults: Transmasculine Sexual Functioning Index.

Sex Med 2020 Sep 20;8(3):350-360. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Introduction: Evaluation of sexual functioning in transmasculine (TM) adults-those who identify as men, male, transmen, or non-binary yet were assigned a female sex at birth-is limited by lack of availability of brief screening measures.

Aim: Study aims were to (i) conduct initial psychometric evaluation of a brief screening tool to assess sexual functioning in TM adults for easy use in outpatient visits, epidemiologic studies, and assessment of treatment and surgical outcomes and (ii) assess the correlates of sexual functioning.

Methods: The 6-item version of the Female Sexual Function Index was adapted and piloted for use with TM adults. The resulting scale, the Transmasculine Sexual Functioning Index (TM-SFI), was administered to 150 TM adults via computer-assisted self-interview. A multivariable model was fit to assess demographic, psychosocial, and gender affirmation correlates of sexual functioning.

Main Outcome Measure: The main outcomes of this study were the calculated reliability and validity of the TM-SFI and fit cumulative logit models to estimate associations of medical gender affirmation (chest surgery) and body image self-consciousness with level of sexual functioning.

Results: Internal consistency reliability was good (Cronbach's alpha = 0.80). Item correlations ranged from 0.21 to 0.80 (P < .05). All scale items loaded onto a single factor (eigenvalue = 11.13; factor loadings > 0.50), evidence of good construct validity. After controlling for potential confounders, participants who had chest surgery exhibited significantly higher odds of being in the highest sexual functioning tertile relative to those without chest surgery (adjusted odds ratio = 2.46; 95% confidence interval = 1.08-5.64; P = .033). Moderate-to-high body image self-consciousness was associated with lower odds of sexual functioning (adjusted odds ratio = 0.42; 95% confidence interval = 0.18-0.94; P = .035).

Conclusion: Initial evaluation of the TM-SFI warrants formal psychometric validation against clinical diagnoses of sexual functioning concerns in TM patients. The brief screener can be used to assess sexual functioning in TM adults and may identify TM who could benefit from clinical interventions to improve sexual functioning. Reisner SL, Pletta DR, Potter J, et-al. Initial Psychometric Evaluation of a Brief Sexual Functioning Screening Tool for Transmasculine Adults: Transmasculine Sexual Functioning Index. J Sex Med 2020;8:350-360.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2020.05.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7471062PMC
September 2020

HIV Testing and PrEP Use in a National Probability Sample of Sexually Active Transgender People in the United States.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2020 08;84(5):437-442

University of California, San Francisco, CA.

Background: HIV testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are effective HIV prevention strategies often underused by transgender people.

Methods: Recruitment occurred in 2 phases to identify transgender respondents in a probability sample of adults in the United States. Transgender respondents completed a self-administered paper or web-based survey designed to assess transgender population health. Sexually active respondents (HIV-negative and had sex in the 5 years previously, N = 190) and a subsample of those at risk for sexual HIV acquisition (sex with cisgender men or transgender women, n = 120) were included in analyses.

Results: Of the full sample of sexually active respondents, those who were transfeminine were less likely to be familiar with PrEP; most (72%) reported favorable attitudes toward PrEP. Of those at risk for HIV acquisition, 23% had never tested for HIV. Respondents of color were more likely than white respondents to meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for HIV testing. Respondents who met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for HIV testing were more likely to report looking online for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender or transgender-specific health information. Few respondents reported currently taking PrEP (3%); those who reported higher levels of nonaffirmation of their gender identity were less likely to currently use PrEP.

Discussion: These findings may indicate some success of HIV testing outreach programs that prioritize people at higher risk for acquiring HIV, focusing on those who are vulnerable to structural marginalization. Ongoing public health efforts are needed to increase HIV testing and PrEP awareness among transgender adults, who are disproportionately impacted by HIV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340231PMC
August 2020

Cardiovascular disease risk among transgender women living with HIV in the United States.

PLoS One 2020 20;15(7):e0236177. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Department of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, United States of America.

Background: Transgender women (TW) are disproportionately affected by both HIV and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Objectives: We aim to quantify prevalence of elevated predicted CVD risk for TW compared to cisgender women (CW) and cisgender men (CM) in HIV care and describe the impact of multiple operationalizations of CVD risk score calculations for TW.

Design: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of patients engaged in HIV care between October 2014 and February 2018.

Setting: The Centers for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems, a collaboration of 8 HIV clinical sites in the United States contributed data for this analysis.

Patients: 221 TW, 2983 CW, and 13467 CM.

Measurements: The measure of interest is prevalence of elevated 10-year cardiovascular disease risk based on ACC/AHA Pooled Cohort Risk Assessment equations (PCE) and the Framingham Risk Score (FRS), calculated for TW by: birth-assigned sex (male); history of exogenous sex hormone use (female/male); and current gender (female).

Results: Using birth-assigned sex, the adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) was 2.52 (95% CI: 1.08,5.86) and 2.58 (95% CI: 1.71,3.89) comparing TW to CW, by PCE and FRS, respectively. It was 1.25 (95% CI: 0.54,2.87) and 1.25 (95% CI: 0.84,1.86) comparing TW to CM, by PCE and FRS, respectively. If TW were classified according to current gender versus birth-assigned sex, their predicted CVD risk scores were lower.

Limitations: PCE and FRS have not been validated in TW with HIV. Few adjudicated CVD events in the data set precluded analyses based on clinical outcomes.

Conclusions: After adjustment for demographics and history of HIV care, prevalence of elevated CVD risk in TW was similar to CM and equal to or higher than in CW, depending operationalization of the sex variable. Future studies with CVD outcomes are needed to help clinicians accurately estimate CVD risk among TW with HIV.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236177PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7371206PMC
September 2020

Intimate Partner Violence in Transgender Populations: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence and Correlates.

Am J Public Health 2020 09 16;110(9):e1-e14. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Sarah M. Peitzmeier is with the Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences, University of Michigan School of Nursing, and The Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, Ann Arbor. Mannat Malik is with the Department of Epidemiology and Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Shanna K. Kattari is with the University of Michigan School of Social Work and University of Michigan Department of Women's Studies, Ann Arbor. Elliot Marrow is with The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, MA. Rob Stephenson is with the Department of Systems, Population, and Leadership, University of Michigan School of Nursing, and The Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities. Madina Agénor is with the Department of Community Health, Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences, Medford, MA. Sari L. Reisner is with the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston.

Transgender individuals experience unique vulnerabilities to intimate partner violence (IPV) and may experience a disproportionate IPV burden compared with cisgender (nontransgender) individuals. To systematically review the quantitative literature on prevalence and correlates of IPV in transgender populations. Authors searched research databases (PubMed, CINAHL), gray literature (Google), journal tables of contents, and conference abstracts, and consulted experts in the field. Authors were contacted with data requests in cases in which transgender participants were enrolled in a study, but no disaggregated statistics were provided for this population. We included all quantitative literature published before July 2019 on prevalence and correlates of IPV victimization, perpetration, or service utilization in transgender populations. There were no restrictions by sample size, year, or location. Two independent reviewers conducted screening. One reviewer conducted extraction by using a structured database, and a second reviewer checked for mistakes or omissions. We used random-effects meta-analyses to calculate relative risks (RRs) comparing the prevalence of IPV in transgender individuals and cisgender individuals in studies in which both transgender and cisgender individuals were enrolled. We also used meta-analysis to compare IPV prevalence in assigned-female-sex-at-birth and assigned-male-sex-at-birth transgender individuals and to compare physical IPV prevalence between nonbinary and binary transgender individuals in studies that enrolled both groups. We identified 85 articles from 74 unique data sets (n = 49 966 transgender participants). Across studies reporting it, the median lifetime prevalence of physical IPV was 37.5%, lifetime sexual IPV was 25.0%, past-year physical IPV was 16.7%, and past-year sexual IPV was 10.8% among transgender individuals. Compared with cisgender individuals, transgender individuals were 1.7 times more likely to experience any IPV (RR = 1.66; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36, 2.03), 2.2 times more likely to experience physical IPV (RR = 2.19; 95% CI = 1.66, 2.88), and 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual IPV (RR = 2.46; 95% CI = 1.64, 3.69). Disparities persisted when comparing to cisgender women specifically. There was no significant difference in any IPV, physical IPV, or sexual IPV prevalence between assigned-female-sex-at-birth and assigned-male-sex-at-birth individuals, nor in physical IPV prevalence between binary- and nonbinary-identified transgender individuals. IPV victimization was associated with sexual risk, substance use, and mental health burden in transgender populations. Transgender individuals experience a dramatically higher prevalence of IPV victimization compared with cisgender individuals, regardless of sex assigned at birth. IPV prevalence estimates are comparably high for assigned-male-sex-at-birth and assigned-female-sex-at-birth transgender individuals, and for binary and nonbinary transgender individuals, though more research is needed.: Evidence-based interventions are urgently needed to prevent and address IPV in this high-risk population with unique needs. Lack of legal protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and social services likely foster vulnerability to IPV. Transgender individuals should be explicitly included in US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations promoting IPV screening in primary care settings. Interventions at the policy level as well as the interpersonal and individual level are urgently needed to address epidemic levels of IPV in this marginalized, high-risk population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2020.305774DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7427218PMC
September 2020

Sociodemographic and behavioural factors associated with testing for HIV and STIs in a US nationwide sample of transgender men who have sex with men.

Sex Transm Infect 2020 09 30;96(6):422-427. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the CIty University of New York (CUNY), New York, New York, USA

Objectives: Transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) represent an understudied population in relation to screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We examined HIV and STI testing prevalence among TMSM along with the factors associated with testing in a diverse US nationwide sample of TMSM.

Methods: Data from a cross-sectional online convenience sample of 192 TMSM were analysed using multivariable binary logistic regression models to examine the association between sociodemographic and behavioural factors and lifetime testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs, as well as past year testing for HIV.

Results: More than two-thirds of TMSM reported lifetime testing for HIV (71.4%), bacterial STIs (66.7%), and viral STIs (70.8%), and 60.9% had received HIV testing in the past year. Engaging in condomless anal sex with a casual partner whose HIV status is different or unknown and having fewer than two casual partners in the past 6 months were related to lower odds of lifetime HIV, bacterial STI, viral STI and past year HIV testing. Being younger in age was related to lower probability of testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs. Furthermore, TMSM residing in the South were less likely to be tested for HIV and viral STIs in their lifetime, and for HIV in the past year. Finally, lower odds of lifetime testing for viral STIs was found among TMSM who reported no drug use in the past 6 months.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs, though at rates only somewhat lower than among cisgender MSM despite similar patterns of risk behaviour. Efforts to increase HIV/STI testing among TMSM, especially among those who engage in condomless anal sex, are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2020-054474DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7653680PMC
September 2020

Legal gender marker and name change is associated with lower negative emotional response to gender-based mistreatment and improve mental health outcomes among trans populations.

SSM Popul Health 2020 Aug 11;11:100595. Epub 2020 May 11.

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA.

Background: In recent years, Massachusetts (MA) and Rhode Island (RI) joined a growing list of states allowing residents to easily change the gender marker and name on government-identification (ID) documents. This was an important change for transgender and gender diverse (trans) residents, who face frequent mistreatment and thus for whom legal gender affirmation is critical. Little is known about associations between legal gender affirmation and psychological outcomes.

Methods: We examined associations between legal gender affirmation (i.e., having changed gender marker/name on neither, one, or both a passport and state ID), upsetting responses to gender-based mistreatment, and mental health outcomes in a sample of trans MA and RI residents. Analyses controlled for gender identity, age, race/ethnicity, education, employment, income, and insurance status.

Findings: Legal gender affirmation was significantly associated with lower reports of depression, anxiety, somatization, global psychiatric distress, and upsetting responses to gender-based mistreatment.

Conclusions: These data provide corroborate recent studies suggesting having pursued legal gender affirmation may be protective. Findings bolster calls to increase structural support for trans individuals, including enactment of state policies easing legal gender affirmation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2020.100595DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7229467PMC
August 2020

State Policies and Healthcare Use Among Transgender People in the U.S.

Am J Prev Med 2020 08 14;59(2):247-259. Epub 2020 May 14.

Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Department of Systems, Populations, and Leadership, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Introduction: The introduction and passing of restrictive and protective transgender-specific state policies have increased during the past decade. These policies are critical for the health of transgender and other gender diverse people; however, little is known about the relationship between these policies and healthcare use, and the role that race/ethnicity plays in this relationship.

Methods: Analysis was conducted in 2018-2019 using multilevel modeling and data from the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey (conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality among nearly 28,000 transgender and other gender diverse people across the U.S.) to explore associations between transgender-specific state policies and healthcare avoidance because of fear of mistreatment. State policies included those related to experiences of discrimination, health insurance coverage, and changing legal documents. Restrictive and protective policies were measured individually and as a composite index. The relationship between race/ethnicity and healthcare use was also examined to determine whether there were differences in the association between race/ethnicity and healthcare avoidance by state.

Results: None of the individual policies were associated with healthcare use, but the composite index was significant, such that living in states with more protective policies was associated with reduced odds of avoiding health care because of fear of mistreatment. The relationship between race/ethnicity and health care also varied across states.

Conclusions: Findings suggest the importance of advocating for more protective transgender-specific policies to improve healthcare access for transgender and other gender diverse people in the U.S., particularly for transgender and other gender diverse people of color.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2020.01.030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7384261PMC
August 2020

Individual- and Partnership-Level Correlates of Protective Barrier Use in a Sample of Transmasculine Adults with Diverse Sexual Partnerships.

AIDS Patient Care STDS 2020 05;34(5):237-246

The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

The sexual partnerships of transmasculine adults-who were assigned female at birth and identify on the masculine gender continuum-remain understudied. This includes characteristics of transmasculine adults' sexual partnerships associated with engaging in HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) sexual risk behavior. This study examined individual- and partnership-level factors of transmasculine adults' sexual partnerships associated with using a protective barrier during sexual activity. Data came from cross-sectional surveys administered to 141 transmasculine adults. Participants provided demographic and sexual health information for up to three sexual partners from the past 12 months ( = 259 partnerships). Generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were used to investigate individual- and partnership-level factors associated with any use of a protective barrier during five sexual behaviors. Transmasculine participants engaged in an array of sexual behaviors with diverse sexual partners. Individual- and partnership-level factors of transmasculine adults' sexual partnerships were associated with their protective barrier use; however, these associations varied in statistical significance across the five sexual behaviors. At the individual level, younger participants had lower odds of protective barrier use during fingering or fisting. At the partnership level, protective barrier use was associated with a sexual partnership's configuration and the gender identity of a sexual partner. Relative to participants with cisgender female partners, those with cisgender male partners generally had lower odds of using a protective barrier. Study findings highlight the importance of studying factors associated with HIV/STI risk behavior located beyond the individual. These findings may have implications for improving measurements of HIV/STI-related risk for transmasculine adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/apc.2019.0296DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7232705PMC
May 2020

Gender Dysphoria, Mental Health, and Poor Sleep Health Among Transgender and Gender Nonbinary Individuals: A Qualitative Study in New York City.

Transgend Health 2020 Mar 16;5(1):59-68. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

NYU Spatial Epidemiology Lab, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, New York.

A vast amount of research has demonstrated the numerous adverse health risks of short sleep duration and poor sleep health among the general population, and increasing studies have been conducted among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. However, although poor sleep health is disproportionately experienced by sexual and gender minority populations, little research has examined sleep quality and associated factors among transgender and gender nonbinary (TGNB) individuals. This study qualitatively explored the relationship that factors such as gender identity, mental health, and substance use have with sleep health among a sample of TGNB individuals in New York City. Forty in-depth interviews were conducted among an ethnically diverse sample who identified as transgender male, transgender female, and gender nonbinary from July to August 2017. All interviews were transcribed, coded, and thematically analyzed for domains affecting overall sleep, including mental health, gender identity, and various coping mechanisms to improve overall sleep. TGNB interview participants frequently described one or more problems with sleeping. Some (15%) participants suggested that mental health issues caused them to have difficulty falling asleep, but that psychiatric medication was effective in reducing mental health issues and allowing them to sleep. An even larger number (35%) told us that their gender identity negatively impacted their sleep. Specifically, participants described that the presence of breasts, breast binding, stress and anxiety about their identity, and concerns about hormonal therapy and gender-affirming surgery were all reported as contributing to sleep problems. Given these sleep challenges, it is not surprising that most (60%) participants used various strategies to cope with and manage their sleep problems, including prescription and over-the-counter sleep medications (33%) and marijuana (18%). Our findings document that sleep health is frequently an issue for TGNB individuals, and they also offer insight into the various ways that TGNB individuals attempt to cope with these sleep problems. Sleep health promotion interventions should be developed for TGNB people, which would promote positive mental health, reduce the risk of pharmaceutical adverse events, and help alleviate psychosocial stress in this target population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/trgh.2019.0007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7173693PMC
March 2020

Longitudinal cohort of HIV-negative transgender women of colour in New York City: protocol for the TURNNT ('Trying to Understand Relationships, Networks and Neighbourhoods among Transgender women of colour') study.

BMJ Open 2020 04 1;10(4):e032876. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York, USA

Introduction: In the USA, transgender women are among the most vulnerable to HIV. In particular, transgender women of colour face high rates of infection and low uptake of important HIV prevention tools, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This paper describes the design, sampling methods, data collection and analyses of the TURNNT ('Trying to Understand Relationships, Networks and Neighbourhoods among Transgender women of colour') study. In collaboration with communities of transgender women of colour, TURNNT aims to explore the complex social and environmental (ie, neighbourhood) structures that affect HIV prevention and other aspects of health in order to identify avenues for intervention.

Methods And Analyses: TURNNT is a prospective cohort study, which will recruit 300 transgender women of colour (150 Black/African American, 100 Latina and 50 Asian/Pacific Islander participants) in New York City. There will be three waves of data collection separated by 6 months. At each wave, participants will provide information on their relationships, social and sexual networks, and neighbourhoods. Global position system technology will be used to generate individual daily path areas in order to estimate neighbourhood-level exposures. Multivariate analyses will be conducted to assess cross-sectional and longitudinal, independent and synergistic associations of personal relationships (notably individual social capital), social and sexual networks, and neighbourhood factors (notably neighbourhood-level social cohesion) with PrEP uptake and discontinuation.

Ethics And Dissemination: The TURNNT protocol was approved by the Columbia University Institutional Review Board (reference no. AAAS8164). This study will provide novel insights into the relationship, network and neighbourhood factors that influence HIV prevention behaviours among transgender women of colour and facilitate exploration of this population's health and well-being more broadly. Through community-based dissemination events and consultation with policy makers, this foundational work will be used to guide the development and implementation of future interventions with and for transgender women of colour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032876DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7170618PMC
April 2020

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use Among Transgender Girls and Young Women.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 03 2;3(3):e201015. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island.

Importance: Nonmedical prescription opioid use is a pressing public health issue in the United States. Transgender youth, including adolescent girls and young women who were assigned male at birth and currently identify as women, female, transgender women, or another diverse gender identity along the transfeminine gender spectrum, are more likely than their cisgender peers to report illicit substance use and meet diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders. However, relatively little is known about the experiences of these populations in the current era of opioid addiction and misuse.

Objective: To report the prevalence of and risk factors associated with lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use in a high-risk community sample of transgender adolescent girls and young women who are sexually active.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cross-sectional study used 2012 to 2015 baseline data from Project LifeSkills, a randomized clinical trial of a behavioral intervention to reduce the risk of HIV acquisition and transmission among a diverse sample of transgender adolescent girls and young women recruited from Boston, Massachusetts, and Chicago, Illinois. A total of 297 transgender girls and women aged 16 to 29 years who were sexually active were included in this analysis. Data were analyzed from June 2019 to August 2019.

Exposures: Transgender woman identification.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Self-reported lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use.

Results: Among 297 transgender adolescent girls and young women (mean [SD] age, 23.4 [3.5] years), 145 (48.8%) identified as non-Hispanic/Latinx black, 76 (25.6%) identified as non-Hispanic/Latinx white, 37 (12.5%) identified as Hispanic/Latinx, 7 (2.4%) identified as non-Hispanic/Latinx Asian, and 32 (10.8%) identified as multiracial or other race/ethnicity. Thirty-five participants (11.8%) reported lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use. Young transgender women who smoked cigarettes monthly or less (adjusted odds ratio, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.10-13.89) and who smoked daily (adjusted odds ratio, 5.69; 95% CI, 1.87-17.33) had greater odds of nonmedical prescription opioid use compared with those who did not smoke. Additionally, participants who identified as a sexual orientation other than heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual had significantly greater odds of lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use compared with those who identified as heterosexual (adjusted odds ratio, 3.69; 95% CI, 1.07-12.72).

Conclusions And Relevance: These findings suggest that transgender adolescent girls and young women have similar prevalence of lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use compared with the US general population prevalence of 12.5%. These findings may serve as a call-to-action for public health surveillance studies and evidence-based interventions to be comprehensively tailored to examine and respond to specific trends of substance use, particularly opioid use disorder, among transgender populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.1015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7076341PMC
March 2020

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use Among Transgender Girls and Young Women.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 03 2;3(3):e201015. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, Rhode Island.

Importance: Nonmedical prescription opioid use is a pressing public health issue in the United States. Transgender youth, including adolescent girls and young women who were assigned male at birth and currently identify as women, female, transgender women, or another diverse gender identity along the transfeminine gender spectrum, are more likely than their cisgender peers to report illicit substance use and meet diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders. However, relatively little is known about the experiences of these populations in the current era of opioid addiction and misuse.

Objective: To report the prevalence of and risk factors associated with lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use in a high-risk community sample of transgender adolescent girls and young women who are sexually active.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cross-sectional study used 2012 to 2015 baseline data from Project LifeSkills, a randomized clinical trial of a behavioral intervention to reduce the risk of HIV acquisition and transmission among a diverse sample of transgender adolescent girls and young women recruited from Boston, Massachusetts, and Chicago, Illinois. A total of 297 transgender girls and women aged 16 to 29 years who were sexually active were included in this analysis. Data were analyzed from June 2019 to August 2019.

Exposures: Transgender woman identification.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Self-reported lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use.

Results: Among 297 transgender adolescent girls and young women (mean [SD] age, 23.4 [3.5] years), 145 (48.8%) identified as non-Hispanic/Latinx black, 76 (25.6%) identified as non-Hispanic/Latinx white, 37 (12.5%) identified as Hispanic/Latinx, 7 (2.4%) identified as non-Hispanic/Latinx Asian, and 32 (10.8%) identified as multiracial or other race/ethnicity. Thirty-five participants (11.8%) reported lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use. Young transgender women who smoked cigarettes monthly or less (adjusted odds ratio, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.10-13.89) and who smoked daily (adjusted odds ratio, 5.69; 95% CI, 1.87-17.33) had greater odds of nonmedical prescription opioid use compared with those who did not smoke. Additionally, participants who identified as a sexual orientation other than heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual had significantly greater odds of lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use compared with those who identified as heterosexual (adjusted odds ratio, 3.69; 95% CI, 1.07-12.72).

Conclusions And Relevance: These findings suggest that transgender adolescent girls and young women have similar prevalence of lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use compared with the US general population prevalence of 12.5%. These findings may serve as a call-to-action for public health surveillance studies and evidence-based interventions to be comprehensively tailored to examine and respond to specific trends of substance use, particularly opioid use disorder, among transgender populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.1015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7076341PMC
March 2020

The health status of transgender and gender nonbinary adults in the United States.

PLoS One 2020 21;15(2):e0228765. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

The goal of this exploratory study was to delineate health differences among transgender subpopulations (transgender women/TW, transgender men/TM, gender nonbinary/GNB adults). 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data were analyzed to compare the health of three groups (TW:N = 369; TM:N = 239; GNB:N = 156). Logistic regression and adjusted odds ratios were used to determine whether health outcomes (fair/poor health, frequent physical and mental unhealthy days, chronic health conditions, and health problems/impairments) are related to group and its interaction with personal characteristics and socioeconomic position. Group was a significant predictor of fair/poor health and frequent mental unhealthy days, revealing significant health differences between the transgender groups. The odds of poor/fair health were approximately 2.5 times higher in TM and GNB adults relative to TW. The odds of frequent mental unhealthy days for TM were approximately 1.5-2 times greater than TW and GNB adults. Among those with health insurance, the odds of fair/poor health for GNB adults was more than 1.5-2 times higher that of TM and TW. Among those without health insurance, TM had over 7 times greater odds of fair/poor health than TW. This study underscores the importance of classifying and examining the health of the transgender population as unique subpopulations, as notable health differences were discovered. TM and GNB adults have significant health concerns, requiring the attention of clinical interventions aimed at promoting health and preventing illness.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228765PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7034836PMC
April 2020

Application of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Sampling Weights to Transgender Health Measurement.

Nurs Res 2020 Jul/Aug;69(4):307-315

Ethan C. Cicero, PhD, RN, is Postdoctoral Scholar Fellow, Department of Community Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco. Sari L. Reisner, ScD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Associate Scientific Researcher, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital, Massachusetts; Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; and Affiliated Research Scientist and Director, Transgender Health Research Team, The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, Massachusetts. Elizabeth I. Merwin, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Dean, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, University of Texas at Arlington. Janice C. Humphreys, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Professor, Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, North Carolina. Susan G. Silva, PhD, is Associate Professor, Duke University School of Nursing and School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Obtaining representative data from the transgender population is fundamental to improving their health and well-being and advancing transgender health research. The addition of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) gender identity measure is a promising step toward better understanding transgender health. However, methodological concerns have emerged regarding the validity of data collected from transgender participants and its effect on the accuracy of population parameters derived from those data.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to provide rationale substantiating concerns with the formulation and application of the 2015 BRFSS sampling weights and address the methodological challenges that arise when using this surveillance data to study transgender population health.

Methods: We examined the 2015 BRFSS methodology and used the BRFSS data to present a comparison of poor health status using two methodological approaches (a matched-subject design and the full BRFSS sample with sampling weights applied) to compare their effects on parameter estimates.

Results: Measurement error engendered by BRFSS data collection procedures introduced sex/gender identity discordance and contributed to problematic sampling weights. The sex-specific "raking" algorithm used by BRFSS to calculate the sampling weights was contingent on the classification accuracy of transgender by participants. Because of the sex/gender identity discordance of 74% of the transgender women and 66% of transgender men, sampling weights may not be able to adequately remove bias. The application of sampling weights has the potential to result in inaccurate parameter estimates when evaluating factors that may influence transgender health.

Discussion: Generalizations made from the weighted analysis may obscure the need for healthcare policy and clinical interventions aimed to promote health and prevent illness for transgender adults. Methods of public health surveillance and population surveys should be reviewed to help reduce systematic bias and increase the validity of data collected from transgender people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/NNR.0000000000000428DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7329606PMC
November 2020

'It all dials back to safety': A qualitative study of social and economic vulnerabilities among transgender women participating in HIV research in the USA.

BMJ Open 2020 01 19;10(1):e029852. Epub 2020 Jan 19.

Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Objectives: Transgender women (TW) are highly burdened by HIV infection in the USA. Research is needed into drivers of the HIV epidemic for TW, including longitudinal studies to identify risks for incident HIV infection and optimal intervention targets. This formative research sought to understand TW's experiences with, perceptions of and barriers and facilitators to HIV research participation to inform future research implementation.

Design: Between August 2017 and January 2018, five online synchronous computer-mediated focus groups were conducted in English and two in Spanish. Recruitment used a mixed format of technology, such as geotargeted social media, and non-technology infused methods, such as peer referrals. Maximum variation sampling was used to enrol participants across a wide range of characteristics. Qualitative codes were iteratively developed and applied to focus group discussion transcripts by independent analysts.

Setting: Participants were recruited from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, New York City and Washington D.C.

Participants: Participants identified as TW≥18 years and resided in one of the six metropolitan areas or outlying regions. 33 participants elected to partake in English focus groups and eight participated in Spanish-led groups.

Results: The geographically diverse sample had a mean age of 41.1 years (SD=13.6), and 34% identified as Black African American and 29% as Hispanic/Latina. Social and economic factors were found to shape HIV research participation for TW. Barriers to HIV research participation included limited research opportunities, mistrust, fear of mistreatment, safety and confidentiality, competing priorities and HIV stigma. Facilitators to HIV research participation were peer involvement and engagement, monetary and non-monetary incentives, flexibility and choices, multiple modalities and methods, and transcenteredness.

Conclusion: It is critical to address the social and economic vulnerabilities surrounding HIV research participation for TW. Results from this study can inform the design and implementation of gender-affirming and culturally tailored approaches to HIV research with TW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044992PMC
January 2020