HIV Awareness in the Transgender Community : A Gateway for Creating Transgender Inclusivity in Health Care Systems
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Current literature on transgender individuals is inaccurate and incomplete, due to errors in the collection process, often the result of the misgendering of transgender individuals. However, more people are publicly identifying as transgender, and those people, just like the general population, seek health care. However, transgender people have largely been erased from a lot of the conversations regarding public health practices. This paper presents the relationship between the HIV epidemic (one of the most recognizable public health issues) and the transgender community, examining the various factors (e.g., threats to basic needs, needle use, high-risk sexual behavior, condom use, gender affirming sex, stigmatization, discrimination, and violence) related to the transmission and acquisition of HIV for transgender individuals, as a means of entry to assessing the relationship between health care and the transgender community. Additionally, this paper assesses the psychosocial factors (e.g., barriers related to health insurance, discrimination and stigma within the health care system, lack of knowledge, discomfort and mistrust, and violence and maltreatment) that challenge transgender individuals such that they would avoid or delay medical care. Using the information about what factors increase an individual’s risk of HIV, and what factors are at play that make it difficult for transgender people to receive care, this paper serves to recommend ways for health care professionals to become transgender inclusive and build systems of support for transgender individuals.