“Almost a fifth of transgender women worldwide are infected with HIV, results of a meta-analysis published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases shows. A total of 39 studies involving over 11,000 transgender women in 15 different countries were included in the study, which also found that prevalence of HIV among transgender women was massively higher than that seen in the general population.”
Overall, trans women were a shocking 49 times more likely to be infected with HIV compared to adults in the general population.
Of course, the usual suspects–stigma, discrimination, and exclusion from health care services–are implicated in these high numbers. “Few health-care workers, from HIV counselors to nurses and physicians, have received any training on addressing the specific health needs of transgender women,” note the authors of the study. They conclude that “present HIV surveillance and prevention interventions for transgender women are clearly inadequate…the findings of this meta-analysis make clear that urgency is needed to address this severe and widespread component of worldwide HIV.”
I completely agree. We have to include transgender folks in the dialogue about HIV and consider the needs of the most marginalized groups when designing services for prevention and treatment of the virus.