An adaptation of the Sisters Informing Sisters on Topics about AIDS (SISTA) Project, TWISTA is a social-skills training intervention for African American transgender male to female women. It is aimed at reducing HIV sexual risk behavior. It is comprised of five 2-hour sessions, delivered by peer facilitators in a community-based setting. The sessions are gender specific and culturally relevant and include behavioral skills practice, group discussions, lectures, role-playing, viewing of prevention videos, and take-home exercises.

Core elements are critical features of an intervention’s intent and design and are responsible for its effectiveness; they must be maintained WITHOUT alteration. Staff providing this intervention must have completed the required training.

The following are the core elements of TWISTA

  • Convene small-group sessions to discuss the session objectives, model skills development, role-play women’s skills acquisition, and address the challenges and joys of being an African American transgender woman
  • Use skilled African American peer facilitators to implement TWISTA group sessions
  • Use cultural and gender appropriate materials to acknowledge pride, enhance self-worth in being an African American transgender woman (e.g., us of poetry by African American women)
  • Teach women to communicate both verbally and non-verbally to show she cares for her partner and needs to protect herself (i.e., negotiation skills, assertive communication skills)
  • Instruct women on how to effectively and consistently use condoms
  • Discuss cultural and gender-related barriers and facilitators to using condoms (e.g., provide information on African American women’s risk of HIV infection), and
  • Emphasize the importance of partner’s involvement in safer sex (i.e., enhance partner norms supportive of condom use.

To date we have implemented TWISTA to about 300 Transwomen!

Anti-Retroviral Treatment and Access to Services (ARTAS) is an intervention designed to link individuals who have been recently diagnosed with HIV to medical care. ARTAS is based on a case management model that encourages a client to establish an effective working relationship with a Linkage Coordinator.