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HIV rates among transgender people in Asia ‘disturbingly high’

HIV rates among transgender people in Asia ‘disturbingly high’

A new report highlights the ‘serious threat’ that HIV remains to transgender people in Asia and the Pacific.

Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) and the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) released the report on Friday for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia).

‘For Asia and the Pacific, HIV rates among transgender people are disturbingly high, ranging from 49% in Delhi, India to 11% in Bangkok, Thailand,’ said a statement released with the report, Overlooked, Ignored, Forgotten: HIV and Basic Rights of Transgender People in Asia and the Pacific.

The report recommends specific research on the estimated 10 million transgender people in the region.

‘We need more quality research that is transgender specific, rather than transgender people being a sub category of MSM [men who have sex with men],’ said Midnight Poonkasetwattana executive director for APCOM.

The trans rights advocates say that stigma and prejudice are just as damaging to transgender communities as HIV.

‘Marginalization leaves transgender people more vulnerable to risky situations,’ said the statement from APTN and APCOM.

‘For instance, they may feel the need to settle for romantic partners who may be abusive, or encourage unsafe behaviors, such as illicit drug use or unsafe anal, vaginal or neo”vaginal [a vagina surgically created for transwomen] sex.’

‘While HIV remains a significant issue, it’s not the only serious issue affecting the health and well-being of transgender community,’ said Khartini Slamah, founder of APTN.

‘Transgender women and men still face a lot of stigma and discrimination, often on a daily basis.’