US invests almost $700,000 into sex education for trans male youth

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The US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded funding to a program to make sexual health education more inclusive to non-binary and trans male youth.

The Biden administration approved a grant of $698,736 to the Center for Innovative Public Health Research in California last September, to support the work of the research center’s sexual health programme. The timeline of the work is slated to run until 30 June 2027, according to the grant summary.

“Youth who are assigned female at birth (AFAB) and identify as non-binary or as trans boys are at risk for negative sexual health outcomes, yet are effectively excluded from sexual health programs,” the grant description reads, “because gender-diverse youth do not experience the cisgender, heteronormative teen sexual education messaging available.”

The description highlights that “this lack of programming is likely contributing to obstacles to sexual health.”

The trailblazing project to combat health inequality builds on the work of Girl2Girl, a text messaging-based sexual health program designed for cisgender girls aged 14 to 18 who identify as lesbian, bisexual or queer. Its work promotes pregnancy prevention, STI screening and communication skills. The almost $700,000 investment aims to “adapt” Girl2Girl ‘to be gender inclusive’.

The descriptions continues: “Data suggest that AFAB trans-identified youth may be less likely to use condoms when having sex with people who have penises and are at least as likely as cisgender girls to be pregnant.”

The new program will “address social structural influences of sexual behaviour” of non-binary and trans male youth that include “significant social stressors, discrimination, dysphoria and rejection.”

This will be achieved through the creation of the program “#transcendenthealth.”

To realise the program the first step is content adaptation via “focus groups” findings and qualitative research findings to be better reflective of and “give voice to the contexts that affect sexual decision making of AFAB trans-identified youth”. This will be followed by a review process and a final national controlled trial of “700 trans-identified AFAB youth”.

The success of the programme will be measured by an increased uptake in condom and birth control usage, STI screening and PREP taking.

Read the full grant description here.

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