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Physical and Mental Health

Why are transgender people at higher risk of HIV

HIV is a virus that alters the immune system and can increase the impact of other infections and diseases. Without treatment, HIV may progress to stage 3, an advanced stage commonly known as AIDS. Transgender people are at a higher risk of HIV and may not have access to adequate care.

According to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source and the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, transgender people have a higher risk of HIV than other people. Evidence Trusted Source suggests that this is particularly true for transgender women.

Simple interventions can greatly reduce the spread of HIV, and treatment can save lives. However, due to the health inequitiesTrusted Source that transgender people often experience, they may not receive the help they require.

A range of factors, such as violence, legal barriers, stigma, and discrimination, may affect the access that transgender people have to healthcare and HIV services.

In this article, we discuss the potential barriers that transgender people may experience when seeking HIV treatment and suggest possible ways to overcome these obstacles.

HIV statistics 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimate that 1.2 million people in the United States currently have HIV.

Data from the CDC Trusted Source show that nearly 1 million people in the U.S. identify as transgender. Of these individuals, 9.2% have HIV, with the virus affecting 14.1% of transgender women and 3.2% of transgender men. By comparison, the estimated HIV prevalence for U.S. adults overall is less than 0.5%.

The HHS note that transgender People of Color, especially Black people, face disproportionately high rates of HIV, suggesting that intersecting oppressions and socioeconomic factors may play a significant role. In the U.S., in 2018, Black people accounted for 45.4% of new HIV diagnoses.

Why are transgender people at higher risk of HIV
HIV prevalence is highest among Black transgender women

According to the CDCTrusted Source, HIV prevalence is highest among Black transgender women, with 44.2% having received a diagnosis. In comparison, 25.8% of Latinx transgender women and 6.7% of white transgender women are living with HIV.

Risk factors

Numerous factors can conspire to both increase the odds of HIV among transgender individuals and decrease access to quality treatment and prevention. These factors may include rusted Source:

Health discrimination

Transgender people face high rates of health discrimination. This discrimination may take the form of doctors not knowing how to care for transgender people or deriding or abusing them, such as by refusing to use their correct names or pronouns. Some doctors may even try to avoid treating transgender people.

A report from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality found that nearly 1 in 5 transgender individuals did not receive care due to discrimination.

The report adds that 28% of survey respondents reported postponing medical care due to discrimination, with the same percentage of respondents reporting exposure to harassment in medical settings.

Lack of access to health information

Health discrimination may also make it more difficult to access quality information about health, HIV prevention, and HIV care. A 2020 survey found that the majority (65%) of transgender women are unfamiliar with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the HIV prevention treatment.

Low access to testing

Transgender individuals may struggle to access HIV testing, so they might not know that they have HIV. As a result, they might not take steps to prevent the virus from spreading to others.

Transgender people may also face unemployment, housing discrimination, and poverty, making it more difficult to find and pay for testing and care.

High risk behavior

Transgender individuals may be more likely to engage in behaviors that increase ……….. Continue Reading…………

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