A new paper published in The Lancet HIV examines the results of a multisite cohort study on HIV incidence and mortality found among transgender women in the eastern and southern United States. Epidemiological monitoring of HIV among American transgender women remains minimal, even after the US National HIV/AIDS Strategy prioritized this often marginalized group, making the data compiled here of particular importance.
The paper’s co-authors included Dr. Kenneth Mayer, Medical Research Director and Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute and Dr. Sari Reisner, Affiliated Investigator at The Fenway Institute and Director of Transgender Health Research.
Over the course of 24 months, 1,312 trans feminine adults who were not living with HIV completed surveys and oral fluid HIV testing with clinical confirmation. These participants came from 72 cities across the eastern and southern US. Researchers then estimated HIV incidence and mortality rates using the number of HIV seroconversions – that is, no infections – and deaths, divided by person-years accumulated from enrollment.
“Participant deaths were identified during follow-up; thus, we felt it was an ethical imperative to report mortality alongside HIV incidence,” the authors explained. Nine participants died during the study.
The findings showed a higher HIV incidence among Black participants and those living in the South. The overall mortality rate was higher among Latinx participants.
“As HIV research and interventions are increasingly delivered online, differences by mode highlight the need for continued community and location-based efforts to reach the most marginalized transgender women,” the authors wrote. “Our findings underscore community calls for interventions that address social and structural contexts that affect survival and other health concerns alongside HIV prevention.”
HIV incidence and mortality in transgender women in the eastern and southern USA: a multisite cohort study is available online here.