The transgender community has just as many discrepancies as any other group of individuals. With the emergence of Caitlyn Jenner, hopefully the community of transgender women will no longer go neglected.
In a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these differences among HIV-infected adults receiving care in the U.S. come to life in nationally representative estimates.
Three years of data combine to prove transgender women have worse health and living situations than non-transgender men and women.
Disadvantages For HIV-Infected Transgender Women
In an article in LGBT Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers, the results of the study are described to show that transgender women are at a deficit because they have higher unmet needs for basic services like food and housing.
Unfortunately this study also shows this group is less likely to adhere to anti-HIV medication regimens and achieve viral suppression. If someone doesn’t want to be healthy, they will continue to suffer.
Collateral Damage To Other Areas of Life
It’s rare to come across any situation in life where there isn’t collateral damage, and HIV is no exception to this rule. Neglect and poor health are not the only issues infected transgender women deal with.
Because of those initial factors, this study shows these women are socioeconomically more marginalized than HIV-infected non-transgender study members.
On top of that, they have a lower overall income, are more likely to be homeless and less likely to have health insurance.
We Need To Know More
Although the findings Yuko Mizuno, Ph.D., Emma Frazier, Ph.D., Ping Huang, and Jacek Skarbinski, MD, present are beneficial to research on the HIV-infected transgender community, certain questions remain unanswered.
“We found few differences between HIV-infected transgender women and non-transgender persons in care with respect to receipt of most care, treatment and supportive services,” the researchers of the study said. “However, the noted disparities in durable viral suppression and unmet needs for basic services should be explored further.”
The many factors in an HIV-infected transgender woman’s life may contribute to differences in antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and viral load suppression, but it is not confirmed by the study’s results. All we know is their lives are greatly harmed by the disease.
Studies similar to this can be used in the future to discover more unique characteristics like the needs of transgender men, HIV prevention and transgender-specific health care services.
Photo sources: BlissTree.com, ThinkProgress.org, Independent.co.uk, LATimes.com, OutServeMag.com.