Rapid HIV testing in transgender communities by community-based organizations in three cities

Public Health Rep. 2008 Nov-Dec;123 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):101-14. doi: 10.1177/00333549081230S313.


Objectives: This article describes the demographic and behavioral characteristics, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing history, and results of HIV testing of transgender (TG) people recruited for rapid HIV testing by community-based organizations (CBOs) in three cities.

Methods: CBOs in Miami Beach, Florida, New York City, and San Francisco offered TG people rapid HIV testing and prevention services, and conducted a brief survey. Participants were recruited in outreach settings using various strategies. The survey collected information on demographic characteristics, HIV risk behaviors, and HIV testing history.

Results: Among 559 male-to-female (MTF) TG participants, 12% were newly diagnosed with HIV infection. None of the 42 female-to-male participants were newly diagnosed with HIV. A large proportion of MTF TG participants reported high-risk behaviors in the past year, including 37% who reported unprotected receptive anal intercourse and 44% who reported commercial sex work. Several factors were independently associated with increased likelihood of being newly diagnosed with HIV infection among MTF TG participants, including having a partner of unknown HIV status in the past year; being 20-29 or > or = 40 years of age; having last been tested for HIV more than 12 months ago; and having been recruited at the New York City site.

Conclusions: Based on the high proportion of undiagnosed HIV infection among those tested, TG people represent an important community for enhanced HIV testing and prevention efforts. MTF TG people should be encouraged to have an HIV test at least annually or more often if indicated, based upon clinical findings or risk behaviors. Efforts should continue for developing novel strategies to overcome barriers and provide HIV testing and prevention services to TG people.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Community Health Services*
  • Female
  • Florida
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New York
  • New York City
  • Public Health
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Transsexualism*
  • United States
  • Young Adult