Impact of Sexual Violence Across the Lifespan on HIV Risk Behaviors Among Transgender Women and Cisgender People Living With HIV

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Abstract

Background:

To examine sexual violence across the lifespan among transgender and cisgender people living with HIV and its associations with recent risk behaviors.

Setting:

Seven community-based sites serving priority populations disproportionately affected by HIV in the United States, including major metropolitan areas in the West and East Coast, as well as the suburban Mid-Atlantic and rural Southeastern regions.

Methods:

From 2013 to 2016, baseline survey data were collected from participants (N = 583) of a multisite community-based HIV linkage to/retention in care study conducted at 7 sites across the United States. Adjusted mixed-effects logistic regression models with random effect for site-assessed associations of sexual violence and gender identity with risk outcomes including condomless sex, sex trade involvement, and substance use–related harms.

Results:

One-third of participants reported a history of sexual violence; transgender [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 5.1, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.6 to 10.1] and cisgender women (AOR = 3.8, 95% CI: 2.3 to 6.4) were more likely than cisgender men to experience sexual violence. Sexual violence was associated with experiencing drug-related harms (AOR = 2.6, 95% CI: 1.2 to 5.5). Transgender women were more likely than cisgender men to have sold sex (AOR = 9.3, 95% CI: 1.7 to 50.0).

Conclusions:

A history of sexual violence is common among transgender and cisgender women PLWH, and it increases risk for drug-related harms. Transgender women are also more likely to report selling sex.

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