NEW YORK — HIV-positive transgender people are just as likely to stay in care, take their medication and have similar outcomes as other men and women living with the disease, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and published online May 30 in Clinical Infectious Diseases, News Medical reported Monday.
The study — which looked at almost 37,000 patients at 13 HIV clinics from 2001-2011 in the U.S. — suggests an encouraging shift from earlier work documenting poor retention in care and drug adherence in transgender people, a high risk group for HIV, the article said.
In the retrospective analysis, led by Dr. Baligh Yehia, a clinical instructor in the division of Infectious Diseases at Penn Medicine, researchers found that transgender people receiving care had similar rates of retention, antiretroviral therapy coverage and HIV suppression as non-transgender men and women over the 10-year period.
Yehia says there are several factors that could explain why care and suppression rates have improved and become more equal.
“It’s a combination of things: there have been great advances in HIV therapy and management over the last decade and increased attention from advocates and groups on identifying people infected with HIV quickly, linking them to care in a timely fashion, and starting treatment earlier,” he was quoted as having said by News Medical. “In addition, there is an increased focus on (LGBT) health in general.”