Preferences for and Experiences of an HIV-Prevention Mobile App Designed for Transmasculine People: Pilot Feasibility Trial and Qualitative Investigation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JMIR formative research






HIV; STI; app-based intervention; cisgender; mHealth; meta-analyses; mobile app; preference; prevention; sexual health; sexual risk behavior; smartphone; transgender; transmasculine


BACKGROUND: Transmasculine people are at risk for HIV; yet few HIV prevention interventions have been developed for this population. We adapted an existing HIV prevention smartphone app for cisgender men who have sex with men to meet the sexual health needs of transmasculine people. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess the acceptability of the adapted app, Transpire, among transmasculine people living in Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, DC, via in-depth interviews of participants in a pilot feasibility trial. METHODS: Participants used the Transpire app for 3 months as part of a pilot study of the app. Eligible participants were aged 18-34 years. There were no eligibility criteria with respect to race and ethnicity, and most participants were non-Hispanic White. At the end of the follow-up, participants were invited to participate in web-based in-depth interviews to discuss their experiences using the app and feedback on design and content. Interviews were transcribed and coded using a constant comparative approach. Three main themes were identified: sexual behavior, app experiences and feedback, and pre-exposure prophylaxis. RESULTS: Overall, participants found the app acceptable and thought that it would be a useful tool for themselves and their peers. Participants reported appreciating having a comprehensive information source available to them on their phones and reported learning more about HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and pre-exposure prophylaxis via the app. They also reported appreciating the inclusive language that was used throughout the app. Although the app included some resources on mental health and substance use, participants reported that they would have appreciated more resources and information in these areas as well as more comprehensive information about other health concerns, including hormone therapy. Representative quotes are presented for each of the identified themes. CONCLUSIONS: There is a desire to have greater access to reliable sexual health information among transmasculine people. Mobile apps like Transpire are an acceptable intervention to increase access to this information and other resources. More evidence is needed, however, from more racially and ethnically diverse samples of transmasculine people.