Sean Arayasirikul




Senior Research Scientist / Assistant Professor
San Francisco Department of Public Health / University of California, San Francisco

Professional Bio

Dr. Sean Arayasirikul is a medical sociologist, Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Senior Research Scientist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). Dr. Arayasirikul is the son of immigrants, a 2nd generation Thai American. As an LGBT youth, he survived homelessness and violence and was raised working poor. Rooted in grassroots mobilization as a youth advocate in HIV/AIDS, he has worked in HIV prevention, care, and research in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Dr. Arayasirikul is deeply passionate about the mentorship of young transwomen of color and underrepresented minorities in science. He is the San Francisco Father of the Iconic House of Infiniti, a legendary staple in the House and Ballroom Community. Dr. Arayasirikul hopes that his work disrupts social unevenness and thinks resistance into reality.

Project Description

Dr. Arayasirikul’s project is a correlational study using secondary data analysis to evaluate relationships between three RWJF Culture of Health Action Area drivers—health, well-being, and equity among transgender women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Transgender women are among the most vulnerable sub-populations in the United States and are disproportionately at risk for HIV and other negative health outcomes. Transgender women face stigma, discrimination, and systemic oppression directed toward transgender people, known as transphobia, which leads to unequal access to education, employment, health care, and other inalienable rights. The Minority Stress Theory suggests that transphobic discrimination produces gender minority stress, which is causally linked to poor health. This project uses the Minority Stress Theory as a conceptual model and analyzes data from the first and largest longitudinal study of risk and resilience among a sample of 300 young transgender women in the San Francisco Bay Area. First, he will examine the differential effects of direct versus vicarious discrimination on the health outcomes of young transgender women. Second, he will assess whether or not access to gender affirmative health care or social connection moderates or mediates this relationship. The project addresses the Culture of Health in critical ways and will yield important new knowledge to make health a shared value, create healthier, more equitable communities, and strengthen integration of health service systems.

Why did you apply to New Connections

I applied to New Connections because I identified very early on that social change does not happen alone nor does it happen in a vacuum. New Connections is a community of scholars. In order for me to develop, evolve, and make a meaningful and sustainable impact on society, I must do so with others. New Connections is an opportunity to build a kinship network to support the collective action of social justice oriented research and scholarship. I cannot wait for what we will do individually and together.

Research Interests

Broadly, Dr. Arayasirikul’s work investigates three lines of research: 1) the social etiology of sexual and gender minority health disparities, in particular youth and young adults of color; 2) the effects of discrimination and stigma on health; and 3) digital health technology as both a methodology to reach hidden populations and as a mode of intervention. As a medical sociologist, he seeks to examine how social and biomedical technologies are entangled in society; in particular, he is interested in their role in (re)constructing emerging conceptions of health, illness, and identity as means to disrupt stigma, discrimination, and social isolation.


Arayasirikul, S., Pomart, W. A., Raymond, H. F., & Wilson, E. C. (2017). Unevenness in Health at the Intersection of Gender and Sexuality: Sexual Minority Disparities in Alcohol and Drug Use Among Transwomen in the San Francisco Bay Area. J Homosex, 1-14.

Arayasirikul, S., Wilson, E. C., & Raymond, H. F. (2017). Examining the Effects of Transphobic Discrimination and Race on HIV Risk Among Transwomen in San Francisco. AIDS Behav.

Turner, C. M., Santos, G. M., Arayasirikul, S., & Wilson, E. C. (2017). Brief Report: Psychosocial Predictors of Engagement in Sexual Risk Behavior Among Trans*female Youth Aged 16-24 Years in San Francisco. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 74(3), 258-264.

Arayasirikul, S., Chen, Y. H., Jin, H., & Wilson, E. (2016). A Web 2.0 and Epidemiology Mash-Up: Using Respondent-Driven Sampling in Combination with Social Network Site Recruitment to Reach Young Transwomen. AIDS Behav, 20(6), 1265-1274.

Le, V., Arayasirikul, S., Chen, Y. H., Jin, H., & Wilson, E. C. (2016). Types of social support and parental acceptance among transfemale youth and their impact on mental health, sexual debut, history of sex work and condomless anal intercourse. J Int AIDS Soc, 19(3 Suppl 2), 20781.

Wilson, E., Chen, Y. H., Pomart, W. A., & Arayasirikul, S. (2016). Awareness, Interest, and HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Candidacy Among Young Transwomen. AIDS Patient Care STDS, 30(4), 147-150.

Wilson, E. C., Chen, Y. H., Arayasirikul, S., Raymond, H. F., & McFarland, W. (2016). The Impact of Discrimination on the Mental Health of Trans*Female Youth and the Protective Effect of Parental Support. AIDS Behav, 20(10), 2203-2211.

Arayasirikul, S., Cai, X., & Wilson, E. C. (2015). A Qualitative Examination of Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS) Peer Referral Challenges Among Young Transwomen in the San Francisco Bay Area. JMIR Public Health Surveill, 1(2), e9.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities
  • Project Name: The Social Context of Direct and Vicarious Discrimination among Young Transgender Women: The Role of Social Connection and Gender Affirmative Care

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *