June 5, 2017
In a community-created consensus statement released today, AIDS United provides critical guidance for clinical providers, funders and social service providers to strengthen their understanding of how best to engage and support transgender communities. The statement provides concrete and measurable steps organizations can take to improve their approach to HIV work in transgender communities and was drafted by 12 transgender leaders at a think tank convened by AIDS United and generously supported by Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP.
The transgender community is critically affected by HIV and faces unique challenges accessing HIV care. A landmark 2013 study estimates that 22 percent of transgender women in the United States are living with HIV. This makes transgender women the most heavily affected group in the United States, relative to their population size. This disproportionate risk is fueled by pervasive violence and discrimination faced by transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in areas such as housing, education and when accessing health care.
"Our recent survey shows 41 percent of the respondents reported lapses in health care for longer than six months. This speaks to the need to meaningfully involve trans people living with HIV in cultural competency training and program designs. Trans people are experts of their experiences and this consensus statement puts the expertise of trans people front and center," said nationally recognized leader in civil rights and trans equality Cecilia Chung.
"Twelve trans leaders from across the country came together to create concrete recommendations so that funders, health care providers and social services organizations can serve our communities with the dignity and respect we deserve. There is power in this -- and the best practices we outlined are critical for improving trans health and justice in this country," said Chung.
Due to these factors, it is critical that clinics and support services are welcoming, inclusive and competent in serving transgender people. Additionally, funders must ensure that funding strategies and decisions are community informed to yield the greatest impact.
"We can no longer ignore the needs of the transgender and gender-nonbinary community. Our consciousness of their presence has been raised, but our services have not stepped up to meet their unique needs," said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. "We cannot allow transgender people to be left out or left behind or we will not fully achieve our national goals."
The Consensus Statement and the newly launched Transgender Leadership Initiative, also funded by Janssen Therapeutics, are programmatic efforts by AIDS United to better partner with transgender leaders to address the dire HIV epidemic in transgender communities, to improve transgender health outcomes and to solidify transgender power in our society. Proposals for support from the Transgender Leadership Initiative are due by Jun 14, 2017 at www.aidsunited.org.
"This statement is a foundational tool that every provider and HIV advocate can use. It is the newest tool in our toolbox for ending the HIV epidemic in this country and AIDS United is proud to release it to everyone," said Milan.
Download the Consensus Statement.
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