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Title:The Safer Sexual Communication Practices of Transgender Adults: Implications for HIV Prevention
Author(s):Kosenko, Kama Allyn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Brashers, Dale E.
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Public Health
Abstract:HIV prevention efforts stress interpersonal communication skills and their protective benefits; however, research on sexual communication has lagged behind interventions and campaigns that emphasize communication. Communication-centered HIV prevention interventions are limited by our nascent understanding of sexual communication practices and norms of silence surrounding sex in sexual minority communities. This project explored the dynamics of sexual communication in a sexual minority community to determine how sex talk unfolds in a specific relational and socio-cultural context as well as what constitutes effective or satisfying safer sex talk. Goldsmith's normative theory guided semi-structured interviews with 41 transgender individuals. Maximum variation sampling methods allowed for the recruitment of trans-individuals of varying sexual, gender, and ethnic identities. Interviews with transgender adults were transcribed verbatim and analyzed via constant comparative techniques. Elements of the transgender experience, including ostracism, financial woes, a lack of education and prevention efforts, sexual stereotypes, hormones, a second adolescence, and identity struggles, shaped participant interpretations and evaluations of safer sex talk and behavior. Participants associated safer sex talk with three patterns of action: communication privacy management, risk adjudication, and social support. Each of these three patterns of action was driven by one goal: the pursuit of sexual safety. Multiple, competing meanings of sexual safety resulted in communicative dilemmas. Creative management strategies allowed participants to achieve desired outcomes, like safer sex, without threatening identities and relationships. Implications for communication and health behavior theory and practice are discussed in light of these findings, and limitations and future directions are outlined.
Issue Date:2008
Description:208 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3337832
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2008

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