Engagement in HIV Care Among New York City Transgender Women of Color: Findings from the Peer-Led, TWEET Intervention, a SPNS Trans Women of Color Initiative

AIDS Behav. 2021 Jul;25(Suppl 1):20-30. doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02667-6.


Transgender women (TW) have higher HIV prevalence rates than cisgender (i.e., non-transgender) women. However, utilization of healthcare for transgender people in the U.S. is low. As part of a multisite initiative to facilitate entry and retention in HIV care for TW of color, we compared health outcomes between participants who became Peer Leaders and those who did not. From 2013 to 2016, 163 New York City, mostly Latina, TW enrolled in the Transgender Women Engagement and Entry to Care Project (TWEET). The TWEET intervention included peer-led, group-based educational sessions called Transgender Leader-Teach Back; 39% completed Peer Leadership requirements. Comparing pre-post change by Peer Leader status, Peer Leaders had a significant decrease in viral load and significant increase in CD4 at the last HIV care visit compared to the first. In multivariable logistic regression, predictors associated with Peer Leadership included having at least some college education, being in a relationship, stable housing, receiving legal assistance for political asylum, and having two or more HIV care visits during the intervention. Findings suggest that, for trans women who have completed at least secondary school education, participating in a peer-led intervention can lead to improved HIV care engagement. Understanding which program components lead to becoming a Peer Leader, and how to better engage non-Peer Leaders, are important next steps.

Keywords: HIV; Intervention; Peer Leader; Political asylum; Transgender.

MeSH terms

  • Ethnic and Racial Minorities
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Transgender Persons*