A recent Rutgers School of Public Health study suggests that programs to prevent HIV in transgender women are helping to lower the rate of new infection but better care and treatment of this vulnerable population is still needed, especially among those of lower income or people of color.
“Despite the stability in HIV prevalence, infection is still highest among transwomen compared to any other group in the city – a pattern evident in much of the world,” said lead author Dr. Henry Raymond, an associate professor at Rutgers School of Public Health. “San Francisco is on the cutting edge of HIV prevention, care and treatment, and there is extensive data from this city that is beneficial in monitoring the epidemic.”
According to Dr. Raymond, transgender women generally have higher rates of HIV than other populations in the United States, including men who have sex with men, but no previous studies have implemented consistent methods or measures to document trends in HIV prevalence or demographic characteristics among transgender women over time.
The researchers examined HIV prevalence over time – in 2010, 2013 and 2016 – among 866 transgender women in San Francisco, focusing on key demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, age, education, annual income, housing, their native country and gender identity. They also tested to determine HIV status and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use within the last year.
Unstable housing has been linked to higher HIV risk and lower treatment, but the new study did not show a link between HIV infection and increased rates of homelessness or living in a shelter. Dr. Raymond said this could mean that housing assistance programs associated with HIV care are helping the most vulnerable of this populationTags: Friday Letter Submission