HIV and Transgender People: Viral Suppression
Data for 2020 should be interpreted with caution due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to HIV testing, care-related services, and case surveillance activities in state and local jurisdictions. While 2020 data on HIV diagnoses and prevention and care outcomes are available, we are not updating this web content with data from these reports.
Viral suppression is the percentage of people with diagnosed HIV who have less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
It is important for transgender people to know their HIV status so they can take medicine to treat HIV if they have the virus. Taking HIV medicine every day can make the viral load undetectable. People who get and keep an undetectable viral load (or remain virally suppressed) can stay healthy for many years and will not transmit HIV to their sex partners.
* Had 2 viral load or CD4 tests at least 3 months apart in a year.
† Had less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood on most recent viral load test.
Source: CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 Dependent Areas, 2019. HIV Surveillance Special Report 2021; 26(2).
Although many people taking HIV medicine are virally suppressed, some people with HIV who are taking HIV medicine are currently not virally suppressed or do not maintain viral suppression over time. Some challenges with achieving and maintaining viral suppression include missing multiple doses of HIV treatment, missing medical appointments, or needing other important health care services.
* Among people aged 18 and older.
† HIV ancillary care services, such as case management and mental health services, are services that support retention in HIV care.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.
Social and economic issues—such as homelessness, depression, and stigma—have prevented some transgender people from getting the HIV care and treatment they need. These factors make it difficult for some transgender people with HIV to achieve and maintain viral suppression.
* Among people aged 18 and older.
Median HIV stigma scores are presented on a ten-item scale ranging from 0 (no stigma) to 100 (high stigma) that measures personalized stigma, disclosure concerns, negative self-image, and perceived public attitudes about people with HIV.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.
In 2019, there were 141 deaths among transgender people with diagnosed HIV in the US and dependent areas. These deaths could be from any cause.
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