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Transgender people continue to face the high burden of HIV around the world. – Science Inquirer

New analyzes highlight the prevalence of HIV in transgender individuals around the world and indicate the need for continued preventive efforts for this population. Sarah Stutterheim and colleagues at Maastricht University in the Netherlands published their findings in the open access journal PLOS ONE on December 1, 2021.

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Transgender people are at increased risk of HIV transmission. The factors underlying this epidemic are numerous, complex and dynamic, with the latest information on HIV prevention measures in recent years. Therefore, it is wise to update HIV knowledge among transgender individuals to inform them of further preventive efforts.

Currently, Stutterheim et al. Conducted a meta-analysis of all 98 peer-reviewed publications on HIV positive rates in transgender individuals that emerged between January 2000 and January 2019. They applied a statistical technique called random effect modeling to this series of studies as a whole. The compiled data represents the largest pool of data considered so far in this topic.

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Researchers found that 19.9 percent (confidence interval 14.7 to 25.1 percent) of transfeminine individuals were HIV-positive and 2.56 percent (confidence interval 0.0 to 5.9 percent) of transmasculine individuals during the study period. I found that. Compared to other individuals over the age of 15, transfeminine people were 66 times more likely to be infected with HIV (51.4 to 84.4) and transmasculine people were 6.8 times more likely to be infected (3.6 to 13.1).

The authors state that their findings are contrary to the presumption that transmasculine individuals are not at risk for HIV. On the other hand, they found that prevalence varies by geographic region and that Africa and Latin America appear to be more affected.

Overall, these findings reaffirm that transgender individuals face an unbalanced burden of HIV. Researchers are calling for further efforts to meet the unique HIV prevention and care needs of this population.

Additional data and research are needed to determine how prevalence is affected by continuous monitoring, especially pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug that prevents HIV infection. Such studies are especially important given that the new studies contain only data up to 2019 and that PrEP treatments have expanded since then.

The authors add: “Transfeminine and transmasculine individuals are disproportionately burdened with HIV and need to address their own preventive and care needs.”

Image credits: Lena Balk, Unsplash, CC0 (

Transgender people continue to face the high burden of HIV around the world. – Science Inquirer Transgender people continue to face the high burden of HIV around the world. – Science Inquirer

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