Nonprescription Hormone Use Among Transgender Women - National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Among Transgender Women, Seven Urban Areas, United States, 2019-2020

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Certain transgender women who seek gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT) face economic and social barriers that limit or prevent access to medically supervised GAHT. Transgender women facing such barriers might acquire GAHT without prescription, potentially without proper dosage, administration, and health monitoring in the absence of medical supervision. For this report, survey data were analyzed from 1,165 transgender women in seven urban areas in the United States to examine associations between self-reported use of nonprescription GAHT and known correlates of nonprescription GAHT, including cost, insurance coverage for GAHT, homelessness, receiving money or drugs in exchange for sex during the past 12 months (exchange sex), lack of comfort discussing gender with provider, and lack of health care use. After controlling for complex sampling design, transgender women who reported recent health care use or insurance coverage for GAHT were less likely to report nonprescription GAHT, and those reporting recent exchange sex or recent homelessness were more likely to report nonprescription GAHT. Findings suggest that transgender women were more likely to use GAHT without a prescription in situations of economic and social marginalization (e.g., disengagement from health care, lack of insurance or trans-specific health care, homelessness, or engagement in sex work). Public health professionals can use these results to design effective interventions to facilitate prescribed hormone use among transgender women in the United States, although access to housing, trans-affirming health care, and insurance coverage might be needed to prevent nonprescription use.

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