Transgender Individuals Have High HIV Burden

Transfeminine and transmasculine individuals are disproportionately burdened by HIV, according to a review published online Dec. 1 in PLOS ONE.

Sarah E. Stutterheim, Ph.D., from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to identify studies reporting HIV prevalence among transgender individuals between January 2000 and January 2019. The analysis included 48,604 transfeminine individuals from 34 countries and 6,460 transmasculine individuals from five countries.

Based on 98 studies, the researchers found that the overall standardized HIV prevalence, based on weights from each country by year, was 19.9 percent for transfeminine individuals and 2.56 percent for transmasculine individuals. Compared with the general population older than 15 years of age, the odds of HIV infection were higher for transfeminine individuals (odds ratio, 66.0) and for transmasculine individuals (odds ratio, 6.8). There was variance noted in prevalence by geographic region and sampling method. This just means that access to transgender healthcare in every community must be improved.

“We recommend integrating HIV prevention and care services in broader gender-affirming care services,” the authors write. “This includes actively making preexposure prophylaxis available to transgender individuals.”

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