Network Characteristics Associated with HIV Testing Conversations Among Transgender Women in Los Angeles County, California

Abstract

This study examined associations between transgender women’s social network characteristics, perceived network member HIV risk/protective behaviors and HIV testing conversations between transgender women and their network members. From July 2015 to September 2016, 264 transgender women who nominated 2529 social network members completed surveys on sociodemographic characteristics, HIV risk/protective behaviors, and egocentric social networks. Mixed-effects logistic regression evaluated discussion of HIV testing with network member characteristics and perceived HIV risk/protective behaviors. HIV testing conversations were positively associated with being named as a trans “mother” (aOR 2.05; 95% CI 1.03–4.06) relationships of longer duration, and the following network member characteristics: perception as a confidant (3.09; 1.89–5.05), discussion of condom use (29.65; 16.75–52.49), knowledge of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (4.14; 2.11–8.15), and receipt of HIV testing (22.13; 11.47–42.69). HIV testing conversations were negatively associated with relationships where stimulants were used (aOR 0.32; 95% CI 0.12–0.84). These results indicate the importance of leveraging close relationship networks to increase HIV testing and the potential role for network-based HIV prevention strategies among transgender women.

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Acknowledgements

CSB acknowledges support by the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH080634). This study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R21 DA037816). CJR and IWH acknowledge additional support from the National Institute of Mental Health (P30 MH58107). IWH acknowledges support from the California HIV/AIDS Research Program (RP15-LA-007). The authors would like to thank the study participants and the research staff of Friends Research Institute who helped make this study possible.

Funding

This study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R21 DA037816). CSB acknowledges support by the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH080634). CJR and IWH acknowledge additional support from the National Institute of Mental Health (P30 MH58107). IWH acknowledges support from the California HIV/AIDS Research Program (RP15-LA-007).

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CJR, IWH and JBF contributed to the study conception, design, and data collection. All authors contributed to the analysis. The first draft of the manuscript was written by CSB and all authors commented on multiple versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Cheríe S. Blair.

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Blair, C.S., Holloway, I.W., Fletcher, J.B. et al. Network Characteristics Associated with HIV Testing Conversations Among Transgender Women in Los Angeles County, California. AIDS Behav (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03196-x

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Keywords

  • Transgender women
  • HIV testing
  • PrEP
  • Social networks
  • Stimulant use