Stigma and discrimination that discourage transgender & gender non-binary people from seeking HIV testing and treatment remains a serious problem
National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHTD) is observed each year on April 18. Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County emphasizes this is a time to recognize the importance of routine HIV testing and status awareness, as well as HIV prevention and patient-centered care for transgender and gender non-binary people.
Transgender refers to people whose gender identity or expression is different from their assigned sex at birth. It is estimated that around 1.4 million adults identify as transgender in the United States. There were 24,558 persons living with diagnosed HIV in Ohio at the end of 2019. Among these, 225 were transgender persons. Transgender women of color, especially African American and Hispanic/Latina women, experience high rates of HIV. Possible reasons could be linked to having multiple sex partners, anal or vaginal sex without protection, and sharing needles or syringes to inject hormones or drugs. Other factors include commercial sex work, mental health issues, incarceration, homelessness, unemployment, and high levels of substance misuse compared to the general population. Multi-layered transgender stigma and discrimination that discourage transgender and gender non-binary people from seeking HIV testing and treatment remains a serious problem.
Montgomery County Health Commissioner, Jeff Cooper states, “We know that trans communities experience a disproportionate degree of cultural, socioeconomic, and related factors that often result in barriers. There is a need for inclusive approaches to HIV testing and medical models that affirm trans-specific care.”
The Ohio HIV / AIDS Prevention Committee of Region 9 (Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties) is committed to providing culturally responsive HIV services including HIV testing, counseling, PrEP medication, HIV specialty care, trans-health, women’s health and more. In observance of National Transgender HIV Testing Day, the committee is asking everyone to get educated, get tested and get treated. Call 937.496.7133 for more information and to find local testing sites.