The National Institutes of Health is spending over $450,000 to provide transgender women of color financial tips and "gender transition supports."
Virginia Commonwealth University began the project last year, which studies "economically disadvantaged male-to-female" transgender individuals in Richmond, Va., and St. Louis, Mo.
"Transgender women (TGW) face persistent discrimination and structural disadvantages including high rates of unemployment, unstable housing, poverty, and dramatically elevated rates of HIV," according to the grant for the study. "The proposed research, using a randomized experimental design, seeks to develop and test an integrated microeconomic intervention, and to assess the feasibility and efficacy of the intervention to improve the financial status of TGW and to reduce participation in high-risk income-generation strategies."
The study will recruit transgender women as "key informants" to assess their "current experiences and preferences."
The "microeconomic intervention" includes providing transgender individuals with "supportive economic services, employment readiness and financial training, gender transition supports, and economics-based HIV education."
"It is estimated that TGW are three times as likely as the general population to be unemployed; four times as likely to be unstably housed; and twice as likely to be poor," the grant states. "TGW of color especially experience these disadvantages."
Researchers hypothesize that providing transgender individuals with financial support will make it less likely they will have unprotected sex.
"Microeconomic interventions, defined as very small-scale initiatives to improve the financial status of individuals have been shown in low-income countries to improve protective sexual behaviors, and HIV communication and testing, by combining HIV education and financial training, mentoring, and economic resources," the grant states.
The study has received $453,592 from taxpayers. Research will continue through November 2020.