Transgender women of color are disproportionately impacted by HIV, poor health outcomes, and transgender-related discrimination (TD). We tested the Model of Gender Affirmation (GA) to identify intervention-amenable targets to enhance viral suppression (VS) using data from 858 transgender women of color living with HIV (49% Latina, 42% Black; 36% virally suppressed) in a serial mediation model. Global fit statistics demonstrated good model fit; statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) direct pathways were between TD and GA, GA and healthcare empowerment (HCE), and HCE and VS. Significant indirect pathways were from TD to VS via GA and HCE (p = 0.036) and GA to VS via HCE (p = 0.028). Gender affirmation and healthcare empowerment significantly and fully mediated the total effect of transgender-related discrimination on viral suppression. These data provide empirical evidence for the Model of Gender Affirmation. Interventions that boost gender affirmation and healthcare empowerment may improve viral suppression among transgender women of color living with HIV.
Transgender HIV Gender affirmation Healthcare empowerment Viral suppression
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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U90HA24973 in the amount of $536,244 awarded to the University of California at San Francisco. No percentage of this project was financed with non-governmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. We would also like to thank our participants and the survey administration staff at each of the demonstration sites. Dr. Johnson’s contribution to this manuscript was supported by NIDA K24DA037034.
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