Background: Recruitment strategies for interventions targeted to women of transgender experience need to be tailored to reflect the specific needs of this hard to reach population at high risk for HIV infection.
Methods: T-Talk is a peer-led behavioral intervention for transgender women, based on motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral skills training. It consists of 7 individual- and group-based sessions that are scalable in community settings through CBO collaboration. The intervention goals are to reduce sexual risk and substance use behaviors while increasing coping and resilience and reducing minority stress.
Results: Feedback provided from peer-health navigators and participants identified important aspects of a recruitment strategy targeted to transgender women of color. (1) Passive recruitment techniques that emphasize networking with CBOs and building trust and increasing visibility within the community are crucial. (2) Privacy and discretion should be exercised across recruitment venues and in recruitment materials. Active recruitment should be limited due to the sensitive nature of the transgender identity, and the intervention name should be representative of the community but avoid explicit reference to the transgender identity. (3) Recruitment materials should emphasize the benefits to be gained by study participation and limit negative messaging. (4) Recruiters should reflect the population being recruited and be able to interact comfortably with the women. (5) The transgender identity is distinct from lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities. Researchers and staff should recognize and incorporate the specific needs that arise from this distinction into recruitment strategies.
Conclusions: To maximize participation in HIV risk reduction interventions, it is necessary to specifically tailor recruitment strategies for transgender women of color.