Seroprevalence amongst trans women

Post publié sur le blog Questionning Transphobia à l’occasion du 1er décembre 2009.

Since yesterday was World AIDS day I thought I’d drop some stats about seroprevalance amongst trans women, especially sex workers, worldwide.

Studies about HIV infection rates amongst trans women populations overall:

*  14% amongst trans women in Puerto Rico (Rodriguez-Madera and Toro-Alfonso 2005) and Chicago (Kenargy and Boswick 2005)
*  21% in Sydney (Alan et al 2005)
*  24% in Amsterdam (Gras et al 1997)
*  25% in Houston (Risser et al 2005)
*  35% in San Francisco (Clements-Nolle 2001)

Specifics (transsexual unless noted, some included transvestite or travesti sex workers)

*  63% of trans women of colour in San Francisco indicated HIV positive (Clements 2001)
* 74% in Rome among transsexual and travesti who use drugs.  Most notably, the same study found 100% seroprevalence of people who had been in the same milieu for more than four years (Gattari et al 1992).
Rates amongst trans sex workers

*  46% in Lisbon (Bernardo et al 1998)
*  68% in Atlanta (Elifson et al 1993)
*  63.8% in Rio de Janiero (Surratt et al 1996)
* 62% amongst transsexual and travesti sex workers in Bueno Aires (Berkins and Fernandez 2005)

All of these statistics have been taken from Viviane Namaste’s recent research paper “Undoing Theory: ‘The Transgender Question’ and the Epistemic Violence of Anglo-American Feminist Theory” (Hypatia journal, vol 24, no. 3, summer 2009) where she argues that a feminist emphasis on what transsexual and transgender bodies mean has neglected the very real crises of violence and HIV infection amongst our communities.  Namaste argues compellingly that HIV has ravaged communities of transsexual women worldwide, a “lost generation” whose disappearance has largely gone unnoticed.  Looking at these statistics, I can’t say I disagree with her.

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