Combatting Stigma Experienced by Transgender People Living with HIV
Date of Award
Restricted Access Thesis
College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences
International Development and Service
International Development and Service, MA
Stigma affects a variety of people and groups based on many differing factors. Some of the most stigmatized groups of people today are those living with HIV, with transgender individuals being especially stigmatized. A transgender individual living with HIV is experiencing dual stigmas, even more so than non-transgender people living with HIV, based on their health status in addition to their gender identity. Current HIV prevalence rates are 27.7% for transgender women, almost as high as the HIV prevalence rates in males who have sex with males. This high HIV percentage can be attributed to many things, including increased risky behavior such as needle sharing and unprotected sex, but can also be exacerbated by systematic issues such as large scale poverty, homelessness, and experienced violence, both physical and sexual. There is an increased need for services that are tailored to the transgender population to combat the poverty, violence, and health issues, but also to increase awareness of the stigma that perpetuates all of the above. An organizational assessment and follow-up resource guide was created in order for any organization to evaluate their current level of transgender competent services that would allow for the issues to be addressed, but also for each transgender person to feel welcomed and affirmed by their communities. Creating this welcoming environment will allow for an increase in use of needed services by the transgender community which can directly impact and decrease the number of new HIV infections. It can also help to provide treatment and prevention for those infected with HIV and those at high risk. Proper implementation of the proposed tools will increase community awareness and ability to stand together with the transgender community to fight stigma and HIV.