AIDS Conference Criticized for Lack of Trans Representation

HIV AIDS

Some have criticized the International AIDS Conference currently taking place in Melbourne for a lack of representation of transgender people.

JoAnne Keatley Centre of Excellence for Transgender Health said that the conference hadn’t done enough to address the needs of the trans* community.

“I think that many of the people on the panel recognise that trans women and men are not men who have sex with men, we are transgender women and men, and we have our own community, and our own ability to respond to the issues that are facing us.” she said to the Melbourne conference.

“Consider inviting a trans* HIV profession to represent our own response to these important updates and issues.

“The fact that we don’t call out the fact that HIV is having this profound impact on transgender women… is just another way of erasing our gender. It dehumanises us and in effect it erases our gender identity.”

In April a study looking at rates of HIV infection in transgender women found that they were 49 times more likely to have HIV than the rest of the population.

“Of all populations affected by HIV, evidence suggests that the transgender populations may carry the heaviest HIV burden worldwide.” said HIV researcher Beatriz Grinsztejn.

“The rate of HIV infection among transgender people is higher than most at risk groups, yet most tracking systems do not report data on trans people systematically.”

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