Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

J Int AIDS Soc


INTRODUCTION: In the era of biomedical HIV prevention and treatment technologies, such as treatment as prevention (TasP) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), there is momentum to develop and rigorously evaluate interventions focused on PrEP among those at risk for HIV acquisition and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among people living with HIV. While HIV status-specific interventions focused on PrEP or ART provide valuable information, status-segregated interventions can create, perpetuate, and even increase HIV stigma among transgender women of colour and other marginalized communities in the United States (US).

DISCUSSION: Due largely to community advocacy, discourses that support status-neutral approaches have emerged in the scientific literature. Although US-based funding mechanisms have typically designated awards focused on a specific HIV status, intervention developers and implementing agencies find creative ways to design and implement status-neutral programmes despite such restrictions. We present our experience with intervention research in New York, Detroit, New Orleans, Puerto Rico and the San Francisco Bay Area, all Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) priority jurisdictions. Kickin it with the Gurlz' was developed to be status-neutral through two grants due to community demands for a unifying approach. The Transgender Women Engagement and Entry to (TWEET) Care Project was designed to improve HIV care engagement for transgender women living with HIV, but developers realized the importance of including participants of any HIV status. Healthy Divas was designed for transgender women living with HIV but subsequent implementing agencies prioritized adapting it to be status-neutral. These examples support the urgency of designing, implementing and evaluating status-neutral interventions.

CONCLUSIONS: Community-based organizations strive for inclusivity in their programming and are rightly often reluctant to segregate services based on the HIV status of their clients. As researchers, we have an ethical imperative to work to reduce HIV stigma and respond to the needs of those most impacted by HIV, including transgender women of colour. As such, we call upon funders to develop mechanisms that support the development and testing of HIV status-neutral interventions to reduce HIV stigma and support community building, thereby increasing the possibility of fully realizing the benefits of biomedical HIV prevention and treatment technologies for all.

Medical Subject Headings

Female; HIV Infections; Humans; Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis; Skin Pigmentation; Social Stigma; Transgender Persons; United States

PubMed ID



25 Suppl 1

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