A study comparing 59 HIV-positive male-to-female (MTF) transgender persons with a control group of 300 non-transgender HIV positive persons found that fewer in the MTF sample were receiving highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). Only 59% of the MTF sample reported current use of HAART compared with 82% of the control group. Both groups had similar HIV-related health status (i.e., CD4 count, viral load, and AIDS-related symptoms). (Source: Melendez, RM, et al., 2006, “Health and Health Care among Male-to-Female Transgender Persons Who Are HIV Positive,” American Journal of Public Health, Volume 96, pp.1034-1037.)
For Further Thought
- What factors might explain the lower rate of use of anti-retroviral therapy among MTF transgender persons in this sample?
- Given that a significantly smaller percentage of the MTF study group used HAART, what might explain the similarity in HIV-related health status in the study and control groups?
- What other health disparities might this HIV-positive MTF transgender sample experience aside from decreased anti-retroviral therapy utilization?