amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Transgender Rights Are Human Rights

National Transgender HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NTHTD)Despite opposition from current and former military leaders, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the majority of the American public, a new ban on transgender recruits joining the military went into effect on April 12, 2019. This move is the latest in a series of actions undertaken by the Trump administration that undermine the civil rights of transgender individuals.

Exclusion and discrimination as exemplified by this military ban contribute to the high rates of HIV among transgender people. "Because HIV is primarily a disease among marginalized populations in the United States, the fight to combat HIV is intrinsically a human rights issue," said amfAR Vice President and Director of Public Policy Greg Millett last fall, after another Trump administration policy affecting transgender people was announced. According to the CDC, stigma and discrimination lead to transgender people not being able to access health care, housing, employment, and education—which, along with other factors, puts them at greater risk of HIV.1  

National Transgender HIV Testing Day, held each year on April 18, recognizes the importance of routine HIV testing, status awareness and continued focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts among transgender and gender non-binary people.

Also according to the CDC:

  • An estimated 1 million adults in the United States are transgender.
  • An estimated 14% of transgender women are living with HIV, and about 44% of African-American transgender women are living with HIV.
  • In 2017, the percentage of transgender people newly diagnosed with HIV was three times the national average; however, almost two-thirds of transgender people have never been tested for HIV.

1 CDC: HIV Among Transgender People, Updated April 16, 2019