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Facilitators and Barriers to Participation in PrEP HIV Prevention Trials Involving Transgender Male and Female Adolescents and Emerging Adults

Despite the disproportionate burden of HIV facing transgender youth, they continue to be under-represented in studies to provide an empirical basis for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programs that can meet the unique needs of this population. This study examined facilitators and barriers to participation in a PrEP adherence study, determined through an online survey administered to 90 transgender male and 60 transgender female 14–21-year-olds attracted to cisgender male sexual partners. Approximately 50% reported likely to participate in the PrEP study. Participation facilitators included prior sexual and health service experiences and study access to PrEP and health services. Participation barriers included lack of concern about HIV, potential medication side effects, the logistics of quarterly meetings, remembering to take PrEP daily, and reluctance to discuss gender identity with study staff. Results suggest that successful recruitment and retention of transgender youth in PrEP prevention studies warrant protocols designed to address these barriers.