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AIDS Care. 2014;26(7):857-64. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2013.855701. Epub 2013 Nov 9.

Sexual risk behaviors and psychosocial health concerns of female-to-male transgender men screening for STDs at an urban community health center.

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a The Fenway Institute , Fenway Health , Boston , MA , USA.


The sexual health of female-to-male (FTM) transgender men remains understudied. De-identified electronic medical records of 23 FTMs (mean age = 32, 48% racial/ethnic minority) who screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) between July and December 2007 at a Boston, Massachusetts area health center were analyzed. Almost half (48%) were on testosterone and 39% had undergone chest surgery; none had undergone genital reconstruction. The majority (57%) were bisexual, and 30% reported sex with nontransgender males only in the prior three months. One individual was HIV-infected (4.3%) and two (8.7%) had a history of STDs (all laboratory-confirmed). Overall, 26% engaged in sexual risk behavior in the prior three months (i.e., unprotected sex with a nontransgender male, condom breakage, or anonymous sex). The majority (61%) had a DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition) diagnosis (52% depression, 52% anxiety, and 26% adjustment disorder), and regular alcohol use was common (65%). Alcohol use, psychosocial distress histories, and sex with males only (versus with males and females) were associated with sexual risk in the past three months. Transgender men have concomitant psychosocial health vulnerabilities which may contribute to sexual risk behaviors. Future research is needed to understand the myriad social, behavioral, and biological factors that contribute to HIV and STD vulnerability for FTMs.


FTM; HIV; STD; psychosocial; sexual risk; transgender

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