The HIV prevention and educational needs of trans youth: A qualitative study

Lydia A Sausa, University of Pennsylvania


Trans youth were defined in this study as people, ages 14--21, who have reassigned the sex or gender they were labeled at birth, or whose gender expression is considered by a broader society as nontraditional for their sex. The current research literature emphasizes that trans people engage in high-risk behaviors that result in higher rates of HIV infection and have difficulty in obtaining health services due to discrimination. Trans youth are reported to be at higher risk for HIV transmission than other youth, though no comprehensive studies exist. Trans youth are a diverse and complex population which researchers, health service providers, and educators currently know very little about. In order better understand the specific health care needs of trans youth and improve education, outreach, and services, this qualitative study of 24 trans youth, sought to answer the following research questions: What are the specific needs of these trans youth related to HIV prevention and education from their point of view? What are the specific needs among my sample's trans sub-identity groups? Through methodology utilizing grounded theory, influenced by an interpretive approach and a critical feminist model, I selected open-ended, semi-structured interviews for data collection to give this unique community a "voice." Individual interviews and "member check" interviews (systematically soliciting feedback about one's data conclusions from participants) provided in-depth, detailed descriptions of the personal perspectives and experiences of trans youth. Twelve recurring themes emerged from the data. Trans youth reported how they place themselves at risk for HIV transmission, highlighted their specific educational and health care needs, and how these needs differ among trans youth identities. Results included guidelines and recommendations to improve and create new HIV and health care services, education, and outreach for trans youth.

Subject Area

Health education|Public health

Recommended Citation

Sausa, Lydia A, "The HIV prevention and educational needs of trans youth: A qualitative study" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3087465.