Group at higher risk of HIV in­fec­tion, study says

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s trans­gen­der fe­male pros­ti­tutes are among the most vul­ner­a­ble to HIV in­fec­tion in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the In­ter­na­tional AIDS So­ci­ety.

More than 16 per­cent of the 220 trans­gen­der fe­male pros­ti­tutes in the study were HIV pos­i­tive, much­higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 0.2 per­cent among fe­male pros­ti­tutes, it said. The na­tional av­er­age of HIV preva­lence stands at less than 0.06.

Wu Zun­you, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cen­ter for AIDS and Sex­u­ally Trans­mit­ted Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion at the China Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol, es­ti­mated that there are less than 10,000 trans­gen­der fe­male pros­ti­tutes.

Pros­ti­tu­tion is il­le­gal in China, but AIDS con­trol work led by the gov­ern­ment has in­te­grated un­der­ground prac­ti­tion­ers into a na­tion­wide HIV sur­veil­lance and in­ter­ven­tion radar, he ex­plained.

Cur­rent out­reach and in­ter­ven­tions can hardly reach them.” Wu Zun­you, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cen­ter for AIDS and Sex­u­ally Trans­mit­ted Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion at the China Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol

Trans­gen­der refers to those whose gen­der iden­tity is the opposite of their sex at birth. In­ter­na­tional stud­ies have found they usu­ally ac­count for 0.3 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

The study, con­ducted by pub­lic health re­searchers from Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity and the Chi­nese Univer­sity of Hong Kong, also found that nearly 27 per­cent of them had re­ported not us­ing a con­dom for anal in­ter­course with male clients in the past month.

Cai Yong, a re­searcher at Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity who led the study, said more sur­veil­lance and tar­geted in­ter­ven­tions were needed to curb HIV in­fec­tions.

Wu agreed, but pointed out that more re­search is needed to guide fu­ture in­ter­ven­tions.

The limited re­search avail­able has shown that trans­gen­der fe­male pros­ti­tutes are at greater HIV risk, Wu said.

“Cur­rent out­reach and in­ter­ven­tions can hardly reach them,” he said.

Are search re­port last yearby Asia Cat­a­lyst, a non­govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion, said trans­gen­der pros­ti­tutes are 49 times more likely to con­tract HIV than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, and nine times more vul­ner­a­ble than fe­male sex work­ers.

Many suf­fer from so­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion and eco­nomic marginal­iza­tion, leav­ing them at high risk of HIV/AIDS, it said.

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