Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.
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On World AIDS Day, a Focus on Transgender Inclusion
Helping to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, the Journal of the International AIDS Society published a study looking at different countries’ national strategic plans for addressing HIV, and found that two-thirds mentioned transgender populations in at least one of five key areas – but that only 8.3% of plans mentioned transgender folks across all five areas. Moreover, transgender individuals were more likely to be included in background materials than in sections around data and budgets, which might be concerning, given the needs for data and funding to address HIV among this disproportionately-impacted population. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region were most likely to mention trans people throughout their HIV strategic plan.
Trans Experience across HIV Care Continuum
AIDSMap shared research finding that less than eight in ten transgender women living with HIV in the US had ever received care to treat the condition, and less than two in three initiated care within the first three months of being diagnosed as HIV positive. These estimates are based on a review of available studies and meta-analysis, given the lack of comprehensive data on the HIV care continuum among transgender women in the US, despite the severely inequitable impact of HIV on this community; even less data is available on transgender men.
Major Disparity in HIV Risk for Trans Women – and Men
Plos One published a study finding that on average across various sources of data, the prevalence of HIV among trans feminine individuals was almost 20% and among trans masculine individuals was about 2.6%. That put these populations at a 66 times and 7 times increased risk, respectively, when compared to the general population. The numbers reveal the dire extent of the inequitable burden of HIV among not only trans women, who are somewhat better included in research, but also among trans men.
State of HIV across Europe
The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention published a report on HIV across the European region, finding that sex between men was still the biggest mode of HIV transmission, accounting for about four in 10 new cases, while injection drug use was responsible for about one in 25. Transgender individuals, sex workers, and people who are incarcerated also faced increased risk, although there was no standardized measure between countries to measure many of these disparities, which researchers note as an area needing improvement.
COVID-19 Vaccines and HIV Concerns in LGBT Community
WFAE reported on a new study finding that one in three (32%) of LGBT adults were worried that the COVID-19 vaccines could interrupt their HIV treatment or prevention medication, a concerning fact given that the vaccines have not been found to have complications for people on ART or PrEP to treat or prevent HIV, respectively. Black LGBT adults were more likely than others to believe this, with 39% reporting concerns, as were Latinx LGBT folks at 34%. Another study found that about two-thirds of people living with HIV had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by May.
Center Confronts Youth Homelessness Crisis
Pink News reported on what the Compass Community Center in Lake Worth, Florida, is doing to support LGBT youth experiencing homelessness. The center’s staff say that most of the youth they serve are experiencing homelessness due to family conflict, which is especially common among transgender youth and leads to the population having 120% higher odds of ending up without stable housing compared to other youth. The center helps connect youth to resources and support, and notes that the entire community does better when these youth enjoy a higher quality of life.
Find out more about your local LGBT community center using CenterLink’s interactive directory.