Transgender Women's Experiences Using a Home HIV-Testing Kit for Partner-Testing

AIDS Behav. 2020 Sep;24(9):2732-2741. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02829-x.


HIV partner-testing (PT) may represent a unique and empowering HIV prevention strategy for groups that face structural and institutional barriers to HIV testing and care, including transgender women. We report on in-depth interviews (IDIs) with N = 10 transgender women who used HIV self-test kits for three months to screen potential sexual partners in a randomized controlled trial (iSUM; "I'll Show You Mine") that took place in New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Participants were assigned to intervention (supplied with 10 self-test kits immediately) or control groups (received 6 test kits after 3 months). We conducted IDIs with the first N = 10 transgender women to enroll in the intervention group after three months in the study (after participants used kits with partners) to understand their experiences. Themes discussed in IDIs included: partners' reaction to HIV testing, participants' reactions to partners' test results or refusal to test, partners' own reaction to their test results, and decision-making around test use. Data were independently analyzed by two coders. Overwhelmingly, participants' experiences with PT was positive. Participants reported kits were convenient and acceptable to most partners. Transgender women felt that PT could pose additional risk for them; one woman experienced violence related to kit use. Furthermore, the availability of kits appeared to encourage participants and their partners to think about their HIV status and, in some cases, modify sexual behavior. Work suggests that HIV PT could be a viable risk-reduction strategy for transgender women.

Keywords: HIV; HIV self-test; HIV testing; HIV/AIDS; Male partners; OraQuick; Partner HIV testing; Secondary distribution; Trans women; Transgender women; Transwomen.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / methods*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • New York City
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qualitative Research
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Serologic Tests
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Young Adult


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic