WHO: Discrimination to blame for HIV Rates, poor healthcare for trans people

A WHO study on transgender people and HIV notes that inadequate health care for the trans population sits squarely on those who oppose the expression of authentic gender identity. The report sums up the situation in dire terms: “Transgender people are often socially, economically, politically and legally marginalized.” The result is that transgender women have "shocking rates" of HIV, study coauthor JoAnne Keatley said. "There was a recent meta-analysis demonstrating that a transgender woman was 49 times as likely to be living with HIV [than the general population] in 15 countries in which data was looked at and analyzed."

But it’s hard to collect reliable data, as only those 15 countries offered laboratory-proven data on HIV prevalence among transgender people. Not one country in Eastern Europe or Africa could provide information to the WHO team by the time researchers needed it. The available information, though, did show a health crisis, and Keatley, who works with the Center for Excellence for Transgender Health at the University of California, and is herself trans, said discrimination is to blame. 

“What is driving the epidemic is really the refusal — I would say — of governments to pass legislation that allows [transgender people] to function in society, and allows them to participate in the workplace,” she said. Still, Keatley said she sees some progress. Read More