Human Immune Virus (HIV) and Acquire Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), commonly called HIV/AIDS, is a health condition that significantly threatens the human population. The disease is currently incurable, so it is critical for public awareness campaigns of its associated risks and causes. Now, so many people have AIDS in the United States and globally. Every country is affected by AIDS illness. People contract the diseases through various means such as sexual intercourse, injection with needles or sharp objects used by an infected person, blood transfusion, and childbirth. In the United States, AIDS affects many groups, including transgender people, people who inject themselves with drugs, and sex workers. This essay paper focuses on the prevalence of the disease among transgender people, with a particular focus on transgender women in Texas. The essay comprises a comprehensive literature review of the HIV burden among transgender women, the disease vulnerability, and the continuum of disease treatment.
Transgender is a term commonly used to describe a varied population whose gender expression or identity is different from the gender given during birth. Transgender women are people born as males but have acquired female gender expression or identity. Transgender people are at significant risk of contracting HIV due to several risk factors and may also have difficulty accessing good health care. Transgender women undergo a unique and special HIV vulnerability that is usually accredited to a wide range of intersecting factors that affects all the levels or stages of the disease care continuum and treatment. Additionally, transgender women who engage in sexual intercourse with their men counterparts usually engage in anal sexual intercourse. This is usually an efficient way of contracting HIV infection. This literature review critically reviews five relevant books and journals discussing transgender HIV prevalence.
Article 1: Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Transgender Persons: A Systematic Review by Van Gerwen et al., 2020
It is estimated that about 1.5 million adults in the United States identify as transgender. The population of transgender people continues to rise. There is little research about the transgender population in the United States, which marginalizes the population. However, there is increased visibility and concern about transgender people, prompting current investigation concerning the given population. The problem is brought about by several health disparities, such as HIV and sexually transmitted infections. In their systematic review, Van Gerwen et al. (2020) note that current literature incorporates laboratory-attested STIs and HIV in transgender persons. These studies are primarily done on transgender women. The most common HIV prevalence among transgender people is found in transgender commercial sex workers. According to the article, nearly 40% of the transgender women retail sex workers in the States of New York and Texas are HIV positive.
Article 2: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d)
The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention’s (CDC) (2022) report also notes the high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among transgender women in Texas, with an average prevalence rate of 42%. Such as herpes and syphilis. These diseases are usually associated with HIV acquisition. According to the CDC, transgender women who, at one point in their lives, underwent genital surgery have a more than average risk of HIV contraction through virginal sexual intercourse.
CDC also notes that reducing the cases of HIV infections among transgender is one of the major HIV prevention strategies for transgender women in the U.S. regions, particularly Texas. The goal can be achieved by implementing three vital approaches for lowering HIV infections. The first strategy is an intensification of prevention efforts in areas where the HIV prevalence is high such as in gays, transgender, bisexuals, and men having sex with other men. In Texas, for example, African or black Americans and Latino or Hispanic transgender women have more HIV prevalence, accounting for up to 57%. The second strategy is the expansion of efforts to minimize HIV infections by employing a combination of evidence-based, effective, and scalable approaches tailored particularly for the at-risk population. The third and last strategy is educating transgender commercial sex workers and the general population of transgender women about the consequences of HIV and preventive measures for the disease.
HIV epidemiology in Texas
Compared to other states in the United States, there is a rapidly growing number of HIV diagnoses and prevalence. Notwithstanding, transgender women’s majority is also highly attributed to various factors, including socioeconomic issues. For example, CDC’s 2017 report on HIV cases in Texas indicated that in one instance, there was a network of eighty-seven people contracting HIV during that time. According to (Mattawanon et al., 2018), many young people have not received much information concerning HIV and how to prevent it. In some instances, transgender is usually afraid to disclose information about their HIV status when they test positive. Comparing Van Gerwen’s article and the CDC’s report on HIV among transgender women, it is inevitably clear that the disease continues to be a real problem not only in Texas but also in the United States. The population has a high disease prevalence accounting for about 40%.
The psychological effects of HIV among transgender women are usually the same as emotional and mental illnesses. Mental disorders are one of the leading causes of health-associated disability, affecting nearly 37% of the transgender population (CDC, n.d). Depression is highly prevalent among transgender women. Depression is usually an expected reaction to HIV patients’ medical diseases and is a menace to the lives of transgender patients. Another psychological impact of HIV is isolation and fear. After diagnosis, most patients experience a lot of fear of revealing information concerning their HIV status. As Van Gerwen et al. (2021) note, this is usually a traumatic period as the patients suffer from stigma. They note that support peers and support groups are critical in controlling the impacts of fear. The CDC also reports financial resources, fewer healthcare personnel and resources, and inadequate access to transportation are some barriers affecting transgender women’s access to HIV treatment.
CDC reports indicate that in the current world, an array of tools can be used to prevent HIV. The disease is majorly spread by sharing syringes and having sex. In most cases, substance use among transgender women also contributes to the disease prevalence among the chosen population. According to Van Gerwen, protection during sex by using condoms and abstinence from sharing sharp objects such as needles are some main preventive measures to reduce cases of new HIV infections among the transgender population in Texas and the U.S. The idea conforms to CDC’s preventing actions against the disease, which puts form avoidance of sharing needs and using condoms during sex as some of the main preventive measures.
The HIV/AIDS illness continues to negatively impact most people in the United States, particularly Texas’ transgender women. The various literature reviews concerning HIV prevalence indicate more or less similar findings regarding disease prevalence, population spread, and psychological barriers. A comparison between the two articles regarding preventive measures for diseases highlights two significant strategies – avoidance of sharing sharp objects and the use of condoms during sex. Despite recognizing other preventative measures, the two strategies are critical in reducing the disease prevalence among transgender women.
Mattawanon, N., Spencer, J. B., Schirmer, D. A., & Tangpricha, V. (2018). Fertility preservation options in transgender people: a review. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, 19(3), 231-242.
Sevelius, J. M., Poteat, T., Luhur, W. E., Reisner, S. L., & Meyer, I. H. (2020). HIV testing and PrEP use in a national probability sample of sexually active transgender people in the United States. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999), 84(5), 437.
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d). HIV and Transgender People https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/transgender/index.html
Van Gerwen, O. T., Jani, A., Long, D. M., Austin, E. L., Musgrove, K., & Muzny, C. A. (2020). Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and human immunodeficiency virus in transgender persons: a systematic review. Transgender Health, 5(2), 90-103.