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

Safer sex: Study examines sexual communication in transgender community

June 2, 2011
A new study from North Carolina State University shows that talking about safer sex is a complicated process for individuals in the transgender community. The finding may help efforts to promote safer sex practices in a community ...

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 ...

School bullying, violence against LGBT youth linked to risk of suicide, HIV infection

May 16, 2011
Critical new research has found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who experience high levels of school victimization in middle and high school report impaired health and mental health in young adulthood, ...

Bisexual women, more likely than bisexual men, to be depressed and abuse alcohol, new study finds

November 8, 2011
Bisexual women are more likely than their male counterparts to suffer from depression and stress and to binge-drink, according to a new national study led by George Mason University researcher Lisa Lindley.

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

New method allows scientists to study how HIV persists

April 24, 2018
After 35 years of rigorous research, there is still no cure for HIV. Current drugs can be used to halt the infection, but fall short of reaching hidden reserves of dormant virus that can lurk for life within infected white ...

HIV-1 viruses transmitted at birth are resistant to antibodies in mother's blood

April 19, 2018
Of the genetically diverse population of HIV-1 viruses present in an infected pregnant woman, the few she might transmit to her child during delivery are resistant to attack by antibodies in her blood, according to new research ...

Top HIV cure research team refutes major recent results on how to identify HIV persistence

April 18, 2018
An international team focused on HIV cure research spearheaded by The Wistar Institute in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) in Barcelona, Spain, established that ...

Scientists discover new way that HIV evades the immune system

April 17, 2018
Scientists have just discovered a new mechanism by which HIV evades the immune system, and which shows precisely how the virus avoids elimination. The new research shows that HIV targets and disables a pathway involving a ...

Team develops new way to fight HIV transmission

April 16, 2018
Scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed a new tool to protect women from HIV infection.

Genetically altered broadly neutralizing antibodies protect monkeys from HIV-like virus

April 16, 2018
Two genetically modified broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) protected rhesus macaques from an HIV-like virus, report scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National ...

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.