Risk perception and vulnerabilities for HIV/AIDS among transgender women in Brazil: mixed methods approach

Paulie Marcelly Ribeiro dos Santos, Kamilla Cardoso dos Santos, Brunna Rodrigues de Oliveira, Larissa Silva Magalhães, Karlla Antonieta Amorim Caetano, Vanessa da Silva Carvalho Vila, Leonora Rezende Pacheco, Megmar Aparecida dos Santos Carneiro, Sónia Ferreira Dias, Jeanne Marie Sttaciarini, Sheila Araujo Teles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transgender women (TW) are a key population in the dynamics of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) dissemination, although little is known about their perceptions of HIV risk. In this embedded, nested, mixed-methods study, we assessed factors associated with condomless sexual intercourse among TW and explored their risk perceptions and vulnerabilities regarding HIV exposure. The first phase involved a cross-sectional study, followed by qualitative interviews. Condomless sexual intercourse during their last sexual encounter was reported by 37.3% of participants, and 16.1% previously tested positive for HIV. Age older than 21 years, single status, and being a sex worker were protective factors for condomless intercourse. Otherwise, TW who reported a past sexual partner with a known sexually transmitted infection and those aware of post-exposure prophylaxis had a greater risk of condomless sexual intercourse (p < 0.05) during their most recent encounter. The qualitative interviews revealed that, despite TW being aware of their risk of contracting HIV, their vulnerabilities overlapped their risk perception, making them trivialize or ignore the risk. This study will help to understand the HIV dynamics among TW and contribute to further health research, education, policymaking, and planning associated with specific health strategies to promote the sexual health of TW.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • HIV
  • risk perception
  • Transgender women


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