Trans women experience discrimination in health care services

Trans women experience discrimination in health care services

The population of trans women is one of the most affected by the HIV epidemic. According to data from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), trans women are 13 times more likely to be infected than adults in the general population.

In the Latin American and Caribbean region, the situation is also very serious for these women, meaning those who were born biologically male, but who feel and live as female. For example, in Jamaica, the prevalence of HIV reaches 51% of trans women, while in Ecuador it is 34.8% and in Panama 29.6%, to mention a few examples.

Unfortunately, the great vulnerability in which trans women are involved is a social problem that derives from discrimination and rejection. Societies condemn someone who wants to “change” their sex and have not understood that gender identity is a personal experience and that sometimes it does not coincide with people’s biological gender.

The right to health 

Discrimination limits the rights of trans women in areas such as family, education, employment and political participation, among others. And one of these rights that is particularly affected is the right to health, particularly in terms of HIV-related services.

Legal barriers to recognizing the gender identity in the identity documents of a trans person also make it difficult for them to access a health service. If a woman applies for a service and the identity card is marked as male, this may give rise to the first of many acts of discrimination.

That is why it is so important that health services acknowledge and respect the gender identity of the people who use them. This is the best way for trans women to feel comfortable and safe in a space that should look after their well-being.

Actions such as calling a trans woman by a male name or not taking into account their needs in terms of, for example, the use of hormones, are discriminatory acts that directly affect their health, both physical and mental. They have the right to demand respect and public health personnel have the obligation to provide it.

This next March the 1st, International Zero Discrimination Day, it is necessary to reflect on the need to open spaces of respect and dialogue with all people, especially the most vulnerable.

At AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we offer you a safe and discrimination-free space. Come to us for free condoms and free HIV tests. Locate our offices in your country or write to us by Whatsapp.