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HIV rate for transgender women skyrockets; other communities hit hard by disease

Trans Women HIV Rates - Cover

The effects of HIV have been seen all across the world’s various populations.  A new study claims that the disease is hitting transgender women at a higher rate than any other population.

According to HuffPost Gay, the  study, led by Dr. Stefan Baral, director of the key populations programs in the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baral and his team of researchers focused on the transgender population. They conducted a review and meta-analysis of studies assessing HIV infection among transgender women in 15 countries over the span of a decade and compared it to adults of similar reproductive age in those populations. Data for the study was only available in countries “with male-predominant HIV epidemics,” including the United States and a few countries in Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

But what researchers found was that transgender women were 49 times more likely than any other reference population to have contracted HIV. “The odds ratio for being infected with HIV in transgender women compared with all adults of reproductive age across the 15 countries was 48·8,” the researchers state in their findings.

For years, transgender people have been left out of the international HIV conversation or improperly grouped into other populations. In the interview with the Huffington Post, Baral said, “This is part of a series we’ve been doing on under-served populations.” Baral and his team noted that transgender women have traditionally been the least likely to be studied, yet they seem to have the highest rates of HIV. They also noted that specific risk factors and universal stigma and discrimination also played a role in the extremely high HIV rates for trans women. “It doesn’t seem like it’s been a priority for global funding entities to care about the needs of transgender communities,” Baral said. Hopefully, this study will alert other researchers and global funding entities to take stock in the lives and health of transgender women.

Check out the CDC’s list of HIV rates in our own nation below.  – nicholas robinson

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