Standing with the Transgender Community

Meaningful inclusion of transgender people is essential to the fight against AIDS.

amfAR marks International Transgender Day of Visibility, an occasion to recognize the contributions of transgender and gender-diverse people and to raise awareness about the systemic violence, discrimination, stigma, and unequal access to resources like housing and employment that the community experiences on a daily basis.

The transgender community is at elevated risk of HIV infection.
A 2021 CDC report found that 40% of transgender women surveyed in seven major U.S. cities are living with HIV. In the survey, 62% of Black transgender women and 35% of Hispanic/Latina transgender women were living with HIV, compared to 17% of white transgender women.

A 2021 study published in PLoS One reported startling numbers: transgender women are 66 times more likely to acquire HIV and transgender men 6.8 times more likely, this compared to people 15 years and older in the general population.

“We will never end HIV/AIDS in the U.S. or around the world unless we focus on the needs of communities at highest risk of infection, including transgender individuals,” said amfAR VP and Director of Public Policy Greg Millett. “amfAR will continue to advocate for trans health and rights as vigorously as possible and to oppose this pernicious movement to scapegoat and subjugate an already disenfranchised population.”

Unprecedented Attacks on Care and Expression
The global trans community faces unprecedented attacks from policymakers seeking to limit their freedom of expression and their access to healthcare, mental health services, and education. amfAR stands with the transgender community in its fight for freedom and equality.

When it comes to health services, structural barriers often prevent transgender people from receiving gender-affirming care and HIV treatment and prevention services. The effects have been disastrous.

March Anti-Trans Legislative Risk Map

Up-to-date 3/28/2023. Further updates to map and Erin Reed’s complete reporting on anti-transgender legislation research are found here: Credit: ©Erin Reed. All rights reserved

Currently, ten states across the U.S. ban gender-affirming care (Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah) with an additional 21 states considering bans of their own. In Texas, legislators have proposed 34 individual pieces of anti-trans legislation this session alone while lawmakers in Florida are mulling a bill that would fine a person $35,000 for even accusing someone of transphobia. Kentucky lawmakers recently overturned Governor Andy Beshear’s veto to pass one of the toughest anti-trans laws in the country. The law forces doctors to de-transition minors for whom they are providing care if any restricted treatment options are being used. It also bans discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in school students of all grades, prohibits students from using the bathroom associated with their gender identity, and permits teachers to refuse to use a student’s pronouns.

amfAR Takes Action
amfAR was founded 40 years ago on the principle that healthcare is a human right. We continue our commitment to support access to healthcare and the inclusion of the transgender community in their own empowerment and advocacy. amfAR’s recent action has included:

  • Introducing a first-of-its-kind study sponsored by amfAR’s TREAT Asia program, in collaboration with the Institute of HIV Research and Innovation (IHRI), Thailand, seeking to provide a better picture of the healthcare needs of transgender people in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines in order to guide gender-affirming HIV prevention and care service
  • amfAR’s public policy office and Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE) recently released a report detailing lessons learned from a yearlong project to build the capacity of five trans-led community organizations to engage in NSP-focused advocacy and shape trans-specific programming.
  • In the coming year amfAR’s Public Policy Office will have increased focus on measuring the effects of anti-trans legislation on health and HIV outcomes in the United States.

Get Involved
Learn more about GATE, Global Action for Trans Equality, here.

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