Men who have sex with men (MSM), men who have sex with men and women (MSM/W) and transgender women (TGW) remain the populations most severely and disproportionately impacted upon by HIV in Los Angeles County. Baseline data from community-based HIV-prevention programmes serving these populations were analysed to explore differences in demographic characteristics, substance use and sexual partnering between the three groups. Despite high HIV prevalence overall (MSM 34.7% versus MSM/W 16.1% versus TGW 21.9%, p < .001), there were striking differences in risk behaviours. Higher rates of homelessness were reported by MSM/W compared to MSM and TGW. Lower rates of education and less substance use were reported by TGW (62.2%), compared to MSM (79.7%) and MSM/W (92.6%). A much higher number of male sexual exchange partners were reported by TGW (MSM 1.04 [SD = 4.8] versus MSM/W 1.54 [SD = 10.3] versus TGW 12.37 [SD = 23.9], p < .001). Findings support the need for HIV-prevention interventions that specifically address the unique risk patterns among each population in order to curb HIV acquisition and transmission.
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