The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3287.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - Board 4

Abstract #43115

Drug abuse affecting lives of male-to-female transgenders

Tooru Nemoto, PhD, Don Operario, PhD, JoAnne Keatley, MSW, Toho Soma, BA, and Christine Soriano, BS. Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco, 74 New Montgomery Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94105, (415) 597-9391,

Background: Male-to-female (MTF) transgenders are at serious risk for harmful effects of drug abuse, and few treatment programs address their specific needs. This research investigates social, psychological, and cultural factors associated with drug use among MTF transgenders. Methods: Two studies examined the social contexts of drug use among MTF transgenders in San Francisco. First, focus groups (N=48) were conducted to describe HIV risk, drug use, and gender-related issues. Next, 332 MTF transgenders (112 African Americans, 110 APIs, 110 Latinas) were interviewed using a structured survey questionnaire. Results: Qualitative analysis revealed alarming levels of drug use and co-morbid outcomes, such as mental health, suicide attempts, HIV/STDs, and violence. Drug use provided a way to cope with discrimination and alienation related with transgender life, transphobia, depression, and sex work. Quantitative analysis revealed high prevalence rates for HIV (42% African Americans, 23% Latinas, and 13% APIs), STDs (24%), and tuberculosis (13%). The majority of the sample reported a history of drug use, including marijuana, cocaine, speed, LSD, and crack. Over one-third of participants reported a history of injection drug use, and among them, the most common injected drugs were speed, heroin, and cocaine. About half of the IDU sample reported recently sharing syringes and almost one-third shared cookers. Over half the overall sample reported having sex while under the influence of drugs during the past 30 days. Conclusions: Drug treatment programs should address transgenders’ psychological needs and their broader social and cultural contexts, including poverty, sex work, gender and racial discrimination, and stigma.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Poly-Drug Use: Multiple Problems, Multiple Challenges Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA