AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 214–224

Social Network Characteristics and HIV Vulnerability Among Transgender Persons in San Salvador: Identifying Opportunities for HIV Prevention Strategies

  • Clare Barrington
  • Cyprian Wejnert
  • Maria Elena Guardado
  • Ana Isabel Nieto
  • Gabriela Paz Bailey
Original Paper

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to improve understanding of HIV vulnerability and opportunities for HIV prevention within the social networks of male-to-female transgender persons in San Salvador, El Salvador. We compare HIV prevalence and behavioral data from a sample of gay-identified men who have sex with men (MSM) (n = 279), heterosexual or bisexual identified MSM (n = 229) and transgender persons (n = 67) recruited using Respondent Driven Sampling. Transgender persons consistently reported higher rates of HIV risk behavior than the rest of the study population and were significantly more likely to be involved in sex work. While transgender persons reported the highest rates of exposure to HIV educational activities they had the lowest levels of HIV-related knowledge. Transgender respondents’ social networks were homophilous and efficient at recruiting other transgender persons. Findings suggest that transgender social networks could provide an effective and culturally relevant opportunity for HIV prevention efforts in this vulnerable population.

Keywords

El Salvador Transgender HIV Men who have sex with men Sexually transmitted infections Respondent driven sampling 

Resumen

El propósito de este estudio es mejorar los conocimientos de la vulnerabilidad de VIH y las oportunidades para prevención dentro de las redes sociales de personas transgéneros (masculino-al-femenino) en San Salvador, El Salvador. Comparamos prevalencia de VIH y datos de comportamiento en una muestra de hombres que tienen sexo con hombres (HSH) que se identifican gay (n = 279), HSH que se identifican heterosexual o bisexual (n = 229), y personas transgéneros (n = 67) reclutados por referencia de personas en sus redes sociales (RDS por sus siglas en ingles). De forma consistente, las personas transgéneros reportaron mayores niveles de comportamiento de riesgo para VIH que el resto de la población del estudio y fueron significativamente más probable a estar involucrado en el trabajo sexual. Mientras reportaron los niveles más altos de exposición a las actividades educativas de VIH, las personas transgéneros tuvieron los niveles más bajo de conocimientos de VIH. Las redes sociales de las personas transgéneros fueron homofilias y muy eficientes para reclutar otras personas transgénero. Los hallazgos sugieren que las redes sociales de las personas transgéneros podrían ofrecer una oportunidad efectiva y culturalmente relevante para esfuerzos de prevención del VIH con esta población vulnerable.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clare Barrington
    • 1
  • Cyprian Wejnert
    • 2
  • Maria Elena Guardado
    • 3
  • Ana Isabel Nieto
    • 4
  • Gabriela Paz Bailey
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB PreventionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Tephinet, Inc.AtlantaUSA
  4. 4.National AIDS ProgramMinistry of HealthSan SalvadorEl Salvador
  5. 5.Center for Health StudiesDel Valle UniversityGuatemala CityGuatemala

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