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Transgend Health. 2019 Feb 20;4(1):46-57. doi: 10.1089/trgh.2018.0047. eCollection 2019.

Variations in Testing for HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections Across Gender Identity Among Transgender Youth.

Author information

1
Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
2
Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
3
Department of Systems, Population and Leadership, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Abstract

Purpose: Transgender youth are at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but their rates of screening are unknown. This study sought to quantify HIV and other STI testing levels and to examine variations in testing levels across three categories of gender identity: transgender men, transgender women, and nonbinary individuals. Methods: Between June 2017 and June 2018, 186 transgender youth aged 15-24 years were recruited into a randomized trial of home HIV testing supplemented with telehealth-based counseling. Information on sociodemographics, health care utilization, sexual activity, stress and resilience, and history of HIV and other STI testing was obtained. Multivariable logistic regression models were formulated to identify variations in testing for HIV and other STIs across gender identities. Results: Twenty-eight of 186 participants (15.1%) reported testing for HIV in the past year, and 42 (22.6%) reported testing for other STIs. Transgender women were less likely to have been tested for HIV (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.15, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.03-0.78) and other STIs (aOR: 0.33, 95% CI: 0.11-0.99), but nonbinary individuals were equally likely to have been tested compared with transgender men. Participants who agreed that their health care provider is knowledgeable about transgender health issues were thrice as likely to have been tested for HIV (aOR: 3.29, 95% CI: 1.36-7.97) and other STIs (aOR: 3.05, 95% CI: 1.40-6.63) compared with those who disagreed. Conclusion: Low levels of testing among transgender youth highlight the exigency of improving gender- and age-appropriate HIV and other STI prevention services. Given that provider knowledge of transgender health issues was strongly associated with testing, training health care providers in transgender-related care could prove beneficial.

KEYWORDS:

HIV testing; STI testing; gender identity; minority health; transgender youth

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