HIV PREVENTION & YOU: TRANSGENDER AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN & MEN
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is primarily transmitted through blood, semen, anal fluids, and vaginal fluids via unprotected sex or sharing injecting equipment. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is not a single disease. It is a spectrum of conditions that occur when a person’s immune system is seriously compromised after years of attack by HIV. The terms HIV and AIDS are not interchangeable. It is important to remember that a person who is infected with HIV does not necessarily have AIDS. However, all people with AIDS have HIV.
TRANSGENDER PEOPLE & HIV RISK
Transgender people, particularly transgender women, are vulnerable to HIV infection. Available evidence suggests that, in relation to their population size, transgender women are among the most heavily affected populations in the United States.
A review of published studies conducted in the U.S. estimated that 28% of transgender women were living with HIV based on laboratory testing, while only 12% self-reported their HIV-positive status. Although these estimates come from different studies within the review, they suggest that many transgender women living with HIV are not aware of their infection. There is a substantial lack of data on the HIV prevalence among transgender men; however, a 2011 study suggested that transgender men who have sex with men (MSM) are at substantial risk of becoming infected with HIV.
There is a substantial lack of data on the HIV prevalence among transgender men; however, a 2011 study suggested that transgender men who have sex with men are at substantial risk of becoming infected with HIV. Another major concern is preventative health exams such as pelvic exams, unplanned pregnancies, and STI screenings.
Transgender women of color are known to be especially vulnerable to HIV infection, with sexual contact with a male being the predominate mode of transmission.
Multiple factors place transgender people at risk for HIV infection and transmission including:
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Anal or vaginal sex without condoms or medicines to prevent HIV
- Injecting hormones or drugs with shared syringes and other drug paraphernalia
- High levels of substance misuse compared to the general population
- Commercial sex work
- Mental health issues
- Lack of family support
- Lack of access to LGBTQ-friendly health providers
TRANSGENDER PEOPLE & HIV RATES
The Numbers – HIV and AIDS Diagnoses
• In the United States, it is estimated that almost 1 million adults identify as transgender.a
• From 2009 to 2014, 2,351 transgender people were diagnosed with HIV in the United States.b Eighty-four percent (1,974) were transgender women, 15% (361) were transgender men, and less than 1% (16) had another gender identity.
• Around half of transgender people (43%  of transgender women; 54%  of transgender men) who received an HIV diagnosis from 2009 to 2014 lived in the South.c
• A 2013 report found that the estimated percentage of transgender women living with HIV in the United States was 22% among 2,705 transgender women sampled.
• Among the 3.3 million HIV testing events reported to CDC in 2013, the percentage of transgender people who received a new HIV diagnosis was more than 3 times the national average.