Tag Archives: sex workers

HIV and Trans Women

Nearly a fifth of the world’s transgender women are infected with HIV. A recent analysis compiling the results of 39 studies involving 11,000 transgender women from 15 countries came to this startling conclusion. This number is 49 times higher than the general population, 36 times higher than males and 78 times higher than other females. For the study, transgender women were defined as individuals born as biological males who currently identified as female. Transgender women who engaged in sex work were also significantly more likely to be infected with HIV than male and other female sex workers.

So why are transgender women so much more likely to contract HIV? The authors of the report offered several reasons. They believe that many of the infections occurred through unprotected anal sex. Next to direct blood to blood contact through needle sharing, anal sex is the easiest route for transmission. Anal tissue is more easily torn during anal sex than through either vaginal or oral sex. If they have had a recent vaginoplasty/vaginal construction, they are also at greater risk of infection. Transgender women are more likely to be involved with sexual partners who are infected with HIV and engage in sex work.

hivprevalance

The stigma, discrimination, and fear of judgement associated with being transgender are significant factors that lead to many women avoiding routine health screenings. And to make matters worse, few health care workers, HIV counselors, and physicians are trained in transgender women’s health care issues.

Hopefully, this study will help open doors to future strategies to help address this overlooked population. To read the entire article, click here.

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HIV and Trans Women

Now that transgender issues are coming into mainstream conversation, here’s a repost of a topic that needs attention…

Nearly a fifth of the world’s transgender women are infected with HIV. A 2013 analysis compiling the results of 39 studies involving 11,000 transgender women from 15 countries came to this startling conclusion. This number is 49 times higher than the general population, 36 times higher than males and 78 times higher than other females. For the study, transgender women were defined as individuals born as biological males who currently identified as female. Transgender women who engaged in sex work were also significantly more likely to be infected with HIV than male and other female sex workers.

So why are transgender women so much more likely to contract HIV? The authors of the report offered several reasons. They believe that many of the infections occurred through unprotected anal sex. Next to direct blood to blood contact through needle sharing, anal sex is the easiest route for transmission. Anal tissue is more easily torn during anal sex than through either vaginal or oral sex. If they have had a recent vaginoplasty/vaginal construction, they are also at greater risk of infection. Transgender women are more likely to be involved with sexual partners who are infected with HIV and engage in sex work.

transgender_HIVPrevalence

The stigma, discrimination, and fear of judgement associated with being transgender are significant factors that lead to many women avoiding routine health screenings. And to make matters worse, few health care workers, HIV counselors, and physicians are trained in transgender women’s health care issues.

Hopefully, this study will help open doors to future strategies to help address this overlooked population. To read the entire article, click here.

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Police Destroying Condoms

During my first day in Johannesburg, South Africa, I noticed an article in The Times, titled,“Police Destroying Condoms.” The article was based on a recent report from the Open Society Foundation. The report interviewed sex workers from Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Russia and the US. Every country had issues with sex workers being harassed by police because they were carrying condoms.

More than 40% of sex workers in these countries said the police had taken their condoms from them. In Russia, this figure rose to 80% in some areas. In the U.S., 52% of people interviewed who identified as sex workers said they sometimes chose not to carry condoms because of stop-and-search harassment. In all six countries, the research found that police physically and sexually abuse sex workers who were found carrying condoms or used the fact that they possessed a condom as proof that they were sex workers and subject to arrest.

Because many sex workers depend on sex with strangers to feed themselves and their children, pay the rent or just for basic survival, the “no condom, no sex” rule just doesn’t apply. So they end up having unprotected sex, putting themselves and their partners at greater risk.

This is not only a health issue, but a human rights issue. Learn more about issues dealing with the rights of sex workers and HIV here.

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