A CDC reportpdf icon released ahead of National Transgender HIV Testing Day found that 4 out of 10 transgender women surveyed in seven U.S. metropolitan cities are HIV positive. The report, one of the most comprehensive surveys of transgender women in the United States to date, also revealed that nearly two-thirds of African American / Black transgender women and more than un-third of Hispanic / Latina transgender women surveyed those with HIV.
These findings highlight the urgent need for an enhanced approach to HIV prevention and care for transgender women. The CDC is actively working to resolve disagreements through strategic program funding and nationwide partnerships.
Interviews were conducted in 2019 through early 2020 with 1,608 transgender women living in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle with 42% of respondents who have a valid HIV test result with HIV.
The report found severe racial and ethnic variation in HIV rates among respondents. Sixty-two percent of Black transgender women and 35% of Hispanic / Latina transgender women have HIV, compared with 17% of white transgender women. In addition, nearly two-thirds of the women surveyed lived at or below the poverty line, and 42% had experienced homelessness in the past 12 months.
“These data provide a clear and convincing picture of the severe HIV prevalence among transgender women and social and economic factors – including systematic racism and transphobia – that contribute to the unacceptable burden, “said Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH, director of The CDC’s Division of HIV / AIDS Prevention. “HIV reduction in communities requires public health and other social service providers and prevention to devise new and comprehensive state-of-the-art solutions to overcome barriers to prevention and taking care of the whole person. “
A status-free approach to HIV services means continued involvement in HIV prevention, care, and treatment regardless of a person’s HIV status. HIV testing serves as a gateway to services for HIV prevention or treatment.
The study also examined the use of specific prevention services and found that only 32% of HIV-free participants reported using pre-expose prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is recommended for people who are at risk of contracting HIV from sex drug use or injection. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is very effective in preventing HIV. Previous studies have found that low intake of PrEP among transgender women may be due to a variety of factors, including medical distrust due to experiences of transphobia, lack of trans. -inclusive marketing, and concerns about drug interactions between hormones and PrEP. In this study, 67% of HIV -free participants took hormones for gender confirmation.
These results demonstrate how critical it is that HIV prevention and care efforts go beyond traditional settings and be culturally aware and responsible for community needs. To transfer these findings, increased engagement with the transgender community and expanded efforts are essential to remove socioeconomic barriers to care, including systematic racism, poverty, and stigma, and address non- equal access to health care, inequality in education, homelessness, and working conditions.
As part of the CDC’s ongoing mission to address HIV and the socially influential epidemics, the CDC is accelerating efforts to reduce health disparities among transgender women and other groups. Transgender people are a priority for key HIV prevention programs, including funding from state and local health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs). For example, the CDC provides 30 CBOs with focused funding of nearly $ 11 million annually over five years to support HIV testing, care-related, and preventive services with focus on transgender people.
The going on Ending the HIV Epidemic The initiative also supports efforts to overcome barriers to HIV prevention and treatment in the 57 areas of the country most affected by HIV, including the seven cities where this survey was conducted. Ending the HIV Epidemic PRIORITIES places accounts for about two-thirds of new infections among Blacks and Hispanics / Latinos in the US At the heart of Ending the HIV Epidemic The initiative is community -based plans that require investors to actively engage people at risk for HIV in planning and implementing local HIV prevention activities. This includes the use or expansion of new, community-adapted methods of HIV testing and care for transgender people.
National Transgender HIV Testing Day observed annually on April 18 and a time to recognize the importance of routine HIV testing and status awareness – as well as HIV prevention and patient -centered care – for transgender and gender non -binary man.
“HIV testing is the gateway to all treatment and prevention, and expanding testing means more transgender women are aware of their condition and can participate in the care they need – if we help them connect with appropriate and responsive care services, ”said Joseph Prejean, The PhD, acting deputy director for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory science in the CDC’s Division of HIV / AIDS Prevention.
For more information from the CDC’s National Center for HIV / AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, and TB Prevention, visit www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom