Brief Report: Psychosocial Predictors of Engagement in Sexual Risk Behavior Among Trans*female Youth Aged 16-24 Years in San Francisco

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2017 Mar 1;74(3):258-264. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001246.


Background: Trans*female youth (TFY) carry a disproportionate burden of HIV. Few longitudinal studies have analyzed both proximal and upstream predictors of changes in HIV-related risk behaviors for TFY. The aim of the present analysis was to identify psychosocial predictors of changes in sexual risk behavior over time for TFY in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Methods: Data come from the SHINE cohort study conducted at the San Francisco Department of Public Health from 2012 to 2014 (n = 263). The relationship between hypothesized psychosocial factors and changes in engagement in condomless receptive anal intercourse over 12-month follow-up was modeled using generalized estimating equations, after adjusting for participant age, race/ethnicity, and education level.

Results: TFY who were ever in a serious relationship since identifying as trans* [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16 to 3.08], those who reported recent crack/cocaine use (aOR = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.05 to 3.85), and those with a monthly income of more than $500 (aOR = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.85) had significantly higher odds of condomless receptive anal intercourse over the 12-month study period compared to TFY without these exposures. Those who reported high exposure to gender-based discrimination had increased adjusted odds of engagement in condomless receptive anal intercourse compared to those who had low exposure over the study period (aOR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.10 to 2.63).

Conclusions: Both proximal and structural factors predicted increased engagement in sexual risk behavior among TFY. Results demonstrate the need for a multilevel approach to HIV prevention strategies for this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • San Francisco
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Young Adult