Background: Transgender women (TGW) and cisgender men who have sex with men (cis-MSM) are often grouped together as key populations. We evaluated behavioral and other characteristics that may distinguish TGW from cis-MSM in Bangkok, Thailand. Methods: We enrolled into an 18-month cohort cis-MSM and TGW 18-35 years of age without HIV, who reported anal intercourse plus condomless anal intercourse, multiple partners, transactional sex, and/or sexually transmitted infection. Robust multivariable Poisson regression was used to estimate adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) and confidence intervals (95% CIs) for associations with being a TGW. Among TGW, logistic regression with generalized estimating equations was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% CIs for associations with taking hormones and having undergone gender affirmation surgery (GAS). Results: From 2017 to 2019, 660 cis-MSM and 348 TGW were enrolled. Compared to cis-MSM, TGW were more likely to be attracted to mostly/only men (aPR: 3.79, 95% CI: 1.57-9.13), have a higher monthly income (aPR: 1.25, 95% CI: 1.04-1.50), have lived in their current residence for <1 year (aPR: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.01-1.46), have engaged in sex work (aPR: 1.48, 95% CI: 1.23-1.77), and be less likely to have ever undergone HIV testing (aPR: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.70-0.98). Among TGW, 149 (42.8%) were taking hormones and 33 (9.5%) had undergone GAS. GAS was more common among TGW who ever used methamphetamines (aOR: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.00-2.41) and those >23 years (18-20-year olds aOR: 0.17, 95% CI: 0.05-0.55; 21-23-year olds aOR: 0.36, 95% CI: 0.20-0.65). Conclusions: TGW and cis-MSM are unique populations; tailored, gender-affirming, differentiated models of HIV prevention and care are necessary to address vulnerabilities specific to each key population.
- sexual and gender minorities
- transgender persons