HIV may afflict almost half Asia-Pacific transgenders: UN

May 16, 2012

Nearly half of transgender people in the Asia-Pacific region could have HIV as poor healthcare and high-risk lifestyles push infection rates to "critical levels", a UN report said Thursday.

The region's estimated 9-9.5 million transgender population is "bearing the brunt of the ", the UN Development Programme study said, adding that figures suggest 49 percent of the community could be infected.

The figure is drawn from anecdotal evidence of infection rates among trans-women -- men who become women -- taken from the "scattered and often small-scale research" available across the region, the UNDP said.

Report author Sam Winter, of Hong Kong University, urged governments to take note of the "burning need to address a very human crisis", pointing out many transgender people end up working as prostitutes and having .

", poverty and contribute to what we call a 'stigma sickness slope' -- a downward spiral that is difficult to reverse," he said in the "Lost in Transition" study.

Transgender people also routinely suffer violence and prejudice while being offered narrow and scant psychological support, the report found.

Billed as the region's most comprehensive study, the report collates information from the last 12 years, painting a picture of hardship for many transgender people, who lack basic healthcare and emotional help.

It recorded cases of "backyard" sex change surgery including castration and the widespread use of unsafe industrial silicone for among those who cannot afford quality healthcare.

Often transgender people leave home at a young age in response to family disapproval, drop out off school because of bullying and struggle to find work, which pushes them into prostitution, it said.

But the study also highlighted positive developments, noting an increasingly confident transgender identity has taken root. It also detected greater will from the community to engage with mainstream services and policy discussions.

"The creation of advocacy networks, community-based organisations and non-government organisations devoted to empowering our communities is a source of joy," according to Thai transgender activist Prempreeda Pramoj Na Ayutthaya.

Explore further: Safer sex: Study examines sexual communication in transgender community

Related Stories

A first-of-its-kind study of transgender health

November 21, 2011

Kerith Conron, an associate research scientist at Northeastern’s Institute on Urban Health Research, conducted a unique study of transgender health in Massachusetts and identified social and economic inequities that ...

LGBT seniors face harder old age, national study finds

November 16, 2011

Aging and health issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender baby boomers have been largely ignored by services, policies and research. These seniors face higher rates of disability, physical and mental distress ...

Recommended for you

Scientists jump hurdle in HIV vaccine design

May 26, 2017

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made another important advance in HIV vaccine design. The development was possible thanks to previous studies at TSRI showing the structures of a protein on HIV's surface, ...

Study reveals how HIV virus destroys lung tissue

May 17, 2017

Up to 30 percent of HIV patients who are appropriately treated with antiretroviral therapies develop the chronic lung disease emphysema. New research from Weill Cornell Medicine investigators has uncovered a mechanism that ...

Researchers take an important step toward an HIV vaccine

May 17, 2017

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have developed a strategy that can revolutionize vaccine design. The new strategy is used to develop vaccines that can prevent HIV infection and the development of AIDS.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.