Latino Men’s Sexual Behavior with Transgender Persons
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Male-to-female transgender persons are thought to be “vectors” for HIV/STI transmission, yet little quantitative information exists about the risk behavior of their male sexual partners who may serve as a “bridge” for HIV transmission into the general population. As part of an online survey examining the sexual risk behavior of Latino men who have sex with men (N = 1,026), we identified 44 (4%) participants who reported having had sex with a transgender partner. Compared with a randomly selected sub-sample of 200 men who did not report sex with a transgender person, sexual partners of transgender persons were almost three times more likely to have had unprotected sexual intercourse in the last three months. In addition, men who had sex with transgender persons were more likely to be HIV-positive; married, separated, or divorced; identify as bisexual or straight; have sex with women; and live in rural or small town communities. Regression analysis revealed that community size, sexual compulsivity, and having had a transgender partner were independent predictors of unprotected sex. Among Latino men who have sex with men, men with a history of sex with a transgender person appear more likely to be sexually compulsive and at greater risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. These men may, therefore, also serve as a “bridge” for HIV transmission to (as opposed to from) the transgender population.