HIV Risk and Social Networks Among Male-to-Female Transgender Sex Workers in Boston, Massachusetts

Sari L. Reisner, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Sean Bland, Kenneth H. Mayer, Brandon Perkovich, Steven A. Safren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Male-to-female transgender individuals who engage in sex work constitute a group at high risk for HIV infection in the United States. This mixed-methods formative study examined sexual risk among preoperative transgender male-to-female sex workers (N = 11) in Boston. More than one third of the participants were HIV-infected and reported a history of sexually transmitted diseases. Participants had a mean of 36 (SD = 72) transactional male sex partners in the past 12 months, and a majority reported at least one episode of unprotected anal sex. Qualitative themes included (a) sexual risk, (b) motivations for engaging in sex work, (c) consequences of sex work, (d) social networks (i.e., "trans mothers," who played a pivotal role in initiation into sex work), and (e) potential intervention strategies. Results suggest that interventions with transgender male-to-female sex workers must be at multiple levels and address the psychosocial and environmental contexts in which sexual risk behavior occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-386
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • intervention development
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • trans mothers
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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