HIV: Why is it More Common in Trans Women?

HIV womenA new study has discovered that transgender women are 49 times more likely to have HIV than the general population – this suggests that nearly a fifth of all transgender women across the world gave HIV. The study included more than 11,000 women across 15 different countries. The results of the study have prompted researchers to take stock of the current health services available for trans women, as well as the improvements which need to be made.

The researchers who created the study state that transgender women are a high risk for HIV and, as such, are in desperate need of preventative measures, treatment and health care services. Many of the case studies contribute to the investigators’ thinking that the infections are contracted through unprotected anal sex, with trans women more likely to engage in sex work. It’s believed that very few care workers, such as HIV counsellors and nurses, are given any training on how to provide the accurate care and advice to transgender women. While it may not seem like a priority for governments and health care services, this study suggests otherwise. When programmes try to treat trans women they opt for the same issues they would treat for gay men, but they need to take into account the specific needs of transgender women.

Transgender women are almost always the receptive partner with regards to anal sex – a lack of resources for hormonal treatments also lead to many women sharing dirty needles. Not only do more services need to be available but they need to be promoted better so that people can seek them out and use them. In order to address the global HIV issue, these concerns within the trans community need to be dealt with as a higher priority. Once such communities have better services available for treatments and advice, the number of HIV cases diagnosed each year will hopefully be reduced.

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