BUFFALO, N.Y. — A new University of Buffalo study has shown that HIV testing among transgender adults was higher in those who identified as female, were African-American or Hispanic, or had a history of incarceration.
The preliminary research, which sought to identify HIV-testing patterns in urban, transgender individuals in Western New York, also found that among participants, those with history as a sex worker, who only engaged in sex with males or had access to stable housing were also more likely to seek HIV testing.
The study was published recently in Volume 2 of Transgender Health, the first peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the health care of transgender individuals.
To better understand which segments of the transgender community are not receiving testing, the researchers examined survey data from the New York State AIDS Institute Reporting System. The de-identified data, collected from 2007-13, included HIV testing history, perceived HIV risks and related medical care.
They also interviewed 27 self-identified transgender men and women over the age of 18 who consented to receiving an HIV test at a Western New York community health care organization.
Of the participants, 23 were transgender females, 40 percent were Caucasian and nearly 30 percent African-American, and more than half were current sex workers or had been incarcerated. Nearly all of the respondents reported a history of substance abuse and most were uninsured.
Participants reported receiving an average of three HIV tests and one STD test before joining the study. The majority of them did not receive an STD test within a year of the study.
The results found that transgender women received, on average, more than three times as many HIV tests as transgender men.
African-American and Hispanic participants also received, on average, more than twice as many HIV tests as Caucasian transgender men and women. The highest average was reported among African-Americans, the university reported.
Those who had access to stable housing had an average test rate that was more than twice that of participants who were homeless or lived at a residential drug treatment facility.