In this R34 research study we will develop and pilot-test a couples focused HIV prevention intervention addressing transgender women and their male primary partners. In the U.S., transgender women are among the highest-risk groups for HIV infection, and transgender women report most frequently engaging in unprotected sex with their male primary partners. Men who have sex with transgender women (MSTWs) have recently been identified as a high-risk population for HIV. Currently there are no evidence-based interventions to reduce HIV infection in transgender women or MSTWs. We propose an innovative research study that will adapt principles from empirically supported couples-focused HIV interventions in order to develop an intervention to reduce HIV risk in transgender women and their male primary partners. After adapting couples counseling materials, we will pilot test the couples-focused intervention with 60 couples comprising transgender women and their male primary partners. Findings will provide preliminary data on the effects, feasibility, acceptability, and implementation process of a couples HIV prevention intervention trial. If this research shows initial promise, we will use findings to support an R01 application to test intervention efficacy in a randomized controlled trial.

Public Health Relevance

In this R34 Intervention Development study, we will adapt empirically supported couples HIV prevention interventions to address relationship dynamics between transgender women and their male primary partners. We will conduct a pilot test of the intervention to assess feasibility, acceptability, preliminary effect sizes, and trial implementation procedures. If findings show initial promise, this research will form the basis of a future randomized controlled trial of the first couples-focused intervention for transgender women and their male primary partners.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Planning Grant (R34)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-X (01))
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Pequegnat, Willo
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Brown University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Operario, Don; Gamarel, Kristi E; Iwamoto, Mariko et al. (2017) Couples-Focused Prevention Program to Reduce HIV Risk Among Transgender Women and Their Primary Male Partners: Feasibility and Promise of the Couples HIV Intervention Program. AIDS Behav 21:2452-2463
Gamarel, Kristi E; Reisner, Sari L; Darbes, Lynae A et al. (2016) Dyadic dynamics of HIV risk among transgender women and their primary male sexual partners: the role of sexual agreement types and motivations. AIDS Care 28:104-11
Yang, Mei-Fen; Manning, David; van den Berg, Jacob J et al. (2015) Stigmatization and Mental Health in a Diverse Sample of Transgender Women. LGBT Health 2:306-12
MacCarthy, Sarah; Reisner, Sari L; Nunn, Amy et al. (2015) The Time Is Now: Attention Increases to Transgender Health in the United States but Scientific Knowledge Gaps Remain. LGBT Health 2:287-91
Reisner, Sari L; Gamarel, Kristi E; Nemoto, Tooru et al. (2014) Dyadic effects of gender minority stressors in substance use behaviors among transgender women and their non-transgender male partners. Psychol Sex Orientat Gend Divers 1:63-71
Gamarel, Kristi E; Reisner, Sari L; Laurenceau, Jean-Philippe et al. (2014) Gender minority stress, mental health, and relationship quality: a dyadic investigation of transgender women and their cisgender male partners. J Fam Psychol 28:437-47
Montgomery, Paul; Underhill, Kristen; Gardner, Frances et al. (2013) The Oxford Implementation Index: a new tool for incorporating implementation data into systematic reviews and meta-analyses. J Clin Epidemiol 66:874-82