Despite decreases in HIV rates overall, research indicates that transgender women of color continue to bear a disproportionate burden of HIV in the United States. One of the factors that can place transgender women at higher risk for HIV infection is sex work. In 2012 the FDA approved the medication Truvada for daily use as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the prevention of sexually acquired HIV infection in uninfected adults who engage in high risk behaviors. Truvada as PrEP would be an effective method for mitigating the risk of HIV infection among transgender women of color who engage in sex work. However, transgender women of color may be adopting PrEP at rates lower than other groups. Previous research suggests that a significant barrier to PrEP adoption may be stigma.
This thesis aimed to investigate whether the low PrEP adoption rates among transgender women of color who engage in sex work may be related to experiences of social and structural level stigma. To this end, the Stigma-High-risk Sex Work-HIV Syndemic model was proposed and, using phenomenological research methods, interviews were conducted with 12 transgender women of color in Southern California, half of whom have engaged in sex work. These interviews revealed that, among these individuals, stigma was not largely responsible for low PrEP adoption rates. Instead, the most common reason participants cited for not adopting Truvada as PrEP was insufficient information on the possible long-term health effects of this medication.
|Commitee:||Peters, Carmichael, Syeed, Esa, D'Anna, Laura|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/6(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Public health, Virology, Sexuality, Epidemiology, LGBTQ studies|
|Keywords:||HIV, Phenomenology, Pre-exposure prophylaxis, Stigma, Syndemics, Transgender|
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