217958 Straight-talk about queer transmen: A qualitative study of the sexual health needs of New England transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sari L. Reisner, MA , The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health and Harvard School of Public Heatlh, Boston, MA
Brandon Perkovich , Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Matthew J. Mimiaga, ScD, MPH , Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, MA
Background: The sexual health of transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) remains understudied. Given increasing rates of HIV and STDs among gay and bisexual men in the US, understanding TMSM sexual practices may be important in promoting sexual health or developing HIV prevention interventions for this population. Methods: Between May-September 2009, 16 female-to-male transgender participants who reported sexual behavior with non-transgender men in the past 12 months completed a formative semi-structured qualitative interview and a quantitative survey. Results: Participants (mean age 33, 88% white) perceived themselves to be at moderately high risk for HIV and STDs. 38% reported a lifetime STD history, 25% had not been tested for HIV in the prior two years, and 31% had not received gynecological care in the previous 12 months (including STD screening). Strikingly, 63% reported meeting an anonymous non-transgender male sex partner online in the past 12 months. Emerging qualitative themes: lack of information on TMSM-specific sexual practices; transition-related experimentation and the “gender role trigger”; internalized transphobia and body image concerns; difficulty “asking for what you want”; substance use; mood triggers; Internet use; and intentional risk reduction practices. Conclusion: Integrating sexual health information “by and for” transgender men into other healthcare services, involving peer support, Internet-delivered information, and training for healthcare providers were seen as important aspects of intervention design and delivery for TMSM. “Embodied scripting” is proposed as a theoretical framework to understand sexual health among transgender populations and examining transgender sexual health from a life course perspective is suggested.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the sexual health needs of transgender men who have sex with men in New England; describe risk and protective factors associated with HIV and STD sexual risk behaviors among this population; formulate hypotheses and questions for future research, including implications for intervention development with this community.

Keywords: Sexual Risk Behavior, Special Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Sari Reisner is the Epidemiology Projects Manager at The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health in Boston, Massachusetts. He has more than 8 years of experience coordinating and managing public health projects, including 3 years of professional grant writing experience and 5 years of experience managing research projects focused on the social and behavioral determinants of health. Reisner’s behavioral science research interests focus on the intersection of mental and physical health, including substance abuse intervention development, health psychology and behavioral medicine within the context of serious illness (HIV/AIDS and cancer), and the social epidemiology of mental illness and substance abuse in marginalized populations, in particular among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender populations. He has co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles (either published or in press), and has presented his work at both national and international scientific conferences, including the Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, and the International AIDS Conference. In addition, he currently serves as a reviewer for Journal of Urban Health, AIDS Care, AIDS and Behavior, Traumatology, and JANAC, and is an editorial consultant for the American College of Physicians, Physicians Information and Education Resource (PIER). Reisner is a full-time Doctoral student at Harvard School of Public Health in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health. He earned a Master’s degree from Brandeis University and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.