Project period: 01/06/2010 - 01/05/2011
Grant Type: Pilot Project
Nationally, minimal work has been done to understand and serve transgender communities. Although no national surveillance data are currently available on the incidence or prevalence of HIV/AIDS within the US transgender population, a handful of studies across the country suggest that monumental disparities in HIV incidence exist in this community compared to the general population. Furthermore, many HIV related needs of this community are not being met. As with the national situation, little systematic work has been done to gain an intimate understanding of the transgender community in Connecticut. Although the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition (CTAC) and the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective (HGLHC) have achieved many key accomplishments, the organizations have not been able to systematically approach the transgender population in Connecticut, specifically in relation to HIV prevention. In recognition of this and the fact that understanding the magnitude and make-up of the population is an integral first step towards understanding HIV prevention needs, risk and transmission dynamics, CTAC and HGLHC will partner with Community Health Action, Innovation and Networking, Inc. (CHAIN) and the Institute for Community Research (ICR) to implement three major/immediate research areas through CIRA’s (Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS) Community Research Partnership Program: (1) estimation of the transgender population size and characteristics in the Hartford area (catchment areas of CTAC and HGLHC), (2) assessment of HIV risk behaviors and prevention needs among the subpopulations of this community and (3) development of a deeper understanding of a subset of this population engaged in high risk behaviors, specifically transgender sex workers, through knowledge generation on specific aspects of sex work, including drivers and facilitators of sex work, HIV-related behavior, risk and vulnerability associated with sex work and sex work type(s).