Epidemiology of HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Viral Hepatitis, and Tuberculosis among Incarcerated Transgender People: A Case of Limited Data

Tonia C. Poteat, Mannat Malik, Chris Beyrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Transgender people experience a disproportionate burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and incarceration. Discrimination, victimization, poverty, and poormental health drive vulnerability to HIV and related infections, as well as risk of arrest, detention, and incarceration. In this paper, we systematically review published data on HIV, sexually transmitted infections, viral hepatitis, and tuberculosis among incarcerated transgender people; describe potential structural determinants of HIV risk and transmission; identify gaps in the literature; and make recommendations for research and interventions to address this neglected population. We found that HIV and related infections among incarcerated transgender people have received little attention in the epidemiologic literature. The limited data available, which date from 1992, demonstrate high prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in this population internationally. Transgender people who had not had genital surgery were typically placed in jails and prisons corresponding to birth-assigned sex rather than gender identity. Once incarcerated, they routinely faced harassment, physical abuse, and sexual violence from inmates and staff and denial of access to medically necessary genderaffirming therapies. More HIV research with incarcerated transgender populations is urgently needed to inform correctional policy change that centers human rights and structural interventions, such as stigma reduction, pre-arrest diversion, and access to HIV prevention methods and gender-affirming care during incarceration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalEpidemiologic reviews
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Keywords

  • HIV
  • hepatitis
  • human rights
  • prison
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • stigma
  • transgender persons
  • tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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