Transgender women, more specifically transgender women of color, have a higher prevalence rate for HIV than people with other gender identities. According to one aids government source 19% of straight women were living with HIV in 2013 and 22% of transgender women in higher income countries had HIV whereas other studies claim it is 30%.
There are several factors which lead to transgender women being more susceptible to HIV. One of the reasons being that women are less likely to receive equal health care opportunities because less services are willing to help and support the LGBTQ community. This link shares a women’s story where she states that healthcare was not provided through her insurance being a transgender woman. Because of this transgender women are less likely to seek out medical help because they are either denied or afraid of the unequal health opportunities.
Another factor that causes HIV rates to be more prevalent is because transgender women are less excepted in society and are more likely to get turned away from a job than a person who identifies as the gender assigned at birth. Women therefore are more likely to have sex for money to make a living. Working in this dangerous field increases a women’s chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease. Having sex for money increases the risk of HIV because you are having sex with multiple partners and having sex with strangers.
Some situations that are more likely to put people in the position to have sex for money is drug addictions, not being accepted, being homeless, no family for support, experience with violence and abuse and several more. All of these situations are more prevalent among transgender individuals.
One would think that because transgender women are more susceptible to these diseases there health care would protect them, but that is not the case.
Antiretroviral therapy is common for individuals with HIV to participate in. A significant number of transgender women are not involved in this therapy and very few healthcare providers are instructed on transgender health. This problem leads to transgender women not receiving the best healthcare. This issue of professionals not being taught about transgender individuals with HIV is outlined in a little more detail on page 34 of The National HIV/Aids Strategy.
On the following website are more statistics listed about transgender women and HIV.
There are organizations however that are in favor of assisting transgender women on getting the right healthcare to help with HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is helping find ways to lower transgender women HIV rates. CDC is trying to help transgender women HIV rates meet the goals that the National HIV Strategy for The United States has set aside. On the third page you can find the vision for the organization.
Policies and actions are outlined on the bottom of page 34-35. The first important policy is to improve the number of HIV medical care doctors, make sure the health care with valuable support is available for transgender women, and be able to provide HIV screenings. A lot of companies don’t even include transgender people in the count for HIV as you can see in this graph .
The state of California has created a brilliant plan however. ““Getting to zero,” according to the plan, means reaching zero new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths along with no stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.” The rest of the article and plan can be found here.