This article explores the sociocultural, educational, and psychological factors significantly associated with poorer health-related outcomes, including HIV sexual risk, in black men with transgender sex partners in Boston, Massachusetts. The study relied on modified respondent-driven sampling and an interviewer-administered survey.
Among the 197 black men residing in Massachusetts that were recruited for this study, 8% reported having a transgender sex partner in the past 12 months, and among them, 56% reported unprotected sex with a transgender partner within the same time frame. The researchers also found that some of the factors highly associated with having transgender sex partners included: a history of substance abuse, incarceration, PTSD symptoms, lower levels of perceived social support, not having been exposed to HIV prevention services in the past 12 months, and endorsement of mobile van services as a comfortable location to access health care. These finding suggest that black men with transgender sex partners may be at higher risk than the greater public for an array of poorer health-related outcomes, including HIV sexual risk, substance abuse, incarceration, psychological vulnerability, and a lack of access to and education about proper health care.
Study limitations include non-specification of whether the reported transgender partners were male-to-female or female-to-male, the small sample size, potential bias resulting from the respondent-driven sampling method, and the absence of any measure examining racial discrimination. Despite these limitations, however, the findings demonstrate the need for future research in HIV prevention.