Mobile HIV education and empowerment for Black transgender women
One in five transgender women in the U.S. is infected with HIV. The burden is particularly onerous for African Americans. While 16% of U.S. trans women are Black, over half of all new cases in trans women from 2009-2014 were among African Americans. Further, African American trans women experience a complex interaction of racism, sexism, and transphobia that leads to health disparities across the entire spectrum of HIV-related outcomes. Despite the clear need for effective HIV resources for African American trans women, no CDC-defined evidence-based interventions exist for this group. We intend to meet this need with Shine, a culturally-tailored, theoretically-driven mobile HIV education and empowerment intervention for Black transgender women. The Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) model will guide the development of behavior change messages tailored to a user’s HIV status. Beyond information, motivation, and skills, a unique socio-cultural context also influences transgender women’s ability to perform HIV-related behaviors. To account for this, we will contextualize the IMB-based HIV content by addressing a key intrapsychic need among trans women: gender affirmation. According to the Model of Gender Affirmation, a need for gender identity validation often leads trans women to engage in behaviors that are counter to HIV prevention and treatment goals. To further improve HIV outcomes, Shine will reduce barriers to HIV behaviors caused by gender affirmation needs and empower Black trans women to affirm their gender in healthier ways.