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Health Commun. 2010 Mar;25(2):131-41. doi: 10.1080/10410230903544928.

Meanings and dilemmas of sexual safety and communication for transgender individuals.

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Department of Communication, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8104, USA.


HIV prevention efforts stress interpersonal communication skills and their protective benefits; however, research on sexual communication has lagged behind interventions that emphasize communication. This project was undertaken to determine how sex talk unfolds in a specific relational and sociocultural context--the transgender community-as well as what constitutes effective or satisfying safer sex talk. Goldsmith's normative theory guided semistructured interviews with 41 transgender individuals. Transgender participants held multiple, often competing goals in safer sex conversations, which resulted in communicative dilemmas. Creative management strategies allowed participants to achieve desired outcomes, like safer sex, without threatening identities and relationships. Implications for communication and health behavior theory and practice are discussed in light of these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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