HIV-positive transgender women are less likely to have a sustained suppressed viral load and to have their basic needs met than cisgender people with HIV. Publishing their findings in LGBT Health, researchers analyzed data from the 2009 to 2011 cycles of the Medical Monitoring Project to compare various characteristics of the transgender versus non-transgender population living with the virus.
The researchers estimated that 1.3 percent of HIV-positive Americans receiving care for the virus are self-identified trans women.
Trans women with HIV were more marginalized socioeconomically than others living with the virus. There were no apparent differences between trans women and cisgender men and women in the proportion prescribed antiretrovirals (ARVs). However, 78.4 percent of trans women had 100 percent ARV adherence, compared with 87.4 percent of the cisgender individuals, and the respective proportions that had sustained virologic suppression were 50.8 percent and 61.4 percent.
Trans women were more in need of supportive services than other HIV-positive adults, although there was no apparent difference in the actual receipt of such services between the two groups. Nevertheless, HIV-positive trans women had higher unmet needs, such as food and housing, when compared with cisgender people living with HIV.