Dear Colleague: April 14, 2022
April 14, 2022
April 18 is National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHTD), a time to recognize the importance of HIV testing—an important entry point to HIV prevention and treatment—for transgender and non-binary people. Please join us as we strengthen our commitment to making sure transgender people have equitable access to HIV testing, prevention, and care so they can learn their status and stay healthy.
In 2019, of the 671 new HIV diagnoses among transgender people, 93% (625) were among transgender women and 7% (46) were among transgender men. In recent years, we have seen reductions in HIV diagnoses among some groups of transgender people in the United States and dependent areas. From 2015 to 2019, HIV diagnoses decreased 11% among transgender people aged 13 to 24 and 21% among transgender people aged 45 to 54. While these trends are encouraging signs that focused prevention efforts are working, progress has been uneven and disparities exist. According to a CDC reportpdf icon, 42% of transgender women surveyed in seven major US cities have HIV. Among respondents, 62% of Black or African American transgender women, 35% of Hispanic/Latina transgender women, and 17% of White transgender women have HIV.
These findings highlight health disparities for transgender people that are exacerbated by transphobic discrimination, limited access to gender-affirming care, insufficient HIV testing, HIV stigma, and systemic racism. By working to address these social and economic inequities, we can help ensure transgender people have access to high-quality, inclusive services that support optimal health outcomes and improve quality of life.
Through a whole-of-society effort to end the HIV epidemic, CDC is supporting the 2022-2025 National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS)external icon vision by collaborating with public health partners and health care providers to increase access to and availability of HIV testing and expand the implementation of a status-neutral approach to HIV care, in which everyone, regardless of status, receives ongoing, high quality care. Some of CDC’s activities to address HIV among transgender people include
- Advancing the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative to ensure communities have the resources needed to address gaps in HIV prevention and care among populations who are disproportionately affected by HIV, including transgender people. This initiative includes expanding access to routine HIV testing (including self-testing), increasing the awareness and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people who do not have HIV, and linking or re-engaging people with HIV to care and treatment.
- Funding and supporting state, territorial, and local health departments, and community-based organizations (CBOs) to conduct HIV surveillance and increase access to prevention services that reach transgender people. Through a new demonstration project, CDC will fund organizations to work in transgender clinics and partner with transgender-serving CBOs to develop community-to-clinic models for integrated status-neutral HIV prevention and care services and gender-affirming services, including hormone therapy and primary health care.
- Identifying evidence-based interventions and best practices through the Prevention Research Synthesis (PRS) Project. The PRS Project has identified several interventions for transgender people, including Couples HIV Intervention Programpdf icon, Project LifeSkillspdf icon, Link LA (Linking Inmates to Care in Los Angeles)pdf icon, and weCare Social Media Interventionpdf icon.
- Funding 36 CBOs under PS 22-2203: Comprehensive High-Impact HIV Prevention Programs for Young Men of Color Who have Sex with Men and Young Transgender Persons of Color. Through this funding opportunity, CBOs will develop and implement high-impact HIV prevention programs for young men of color who have sex with men, young transgender persons of color, and their partners regardless of age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
Leading up to NTHTD, you can help raise awareness about HIV testing, prevention, and care options for transgender people by downloading and sharing materials from CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign. If you’re a health care provider, you can download HIV prevention and care materials to better serve transgender people. You can also raise awareness by sharing social media content from CDC’s digital toolkit using the #NTHTD, #TransHIV, and #StopHIVTogether hashtags.
Thank you for your continued support in this important work. Together, by ensuring transgender people have access to HIV testing, prevention, and patient-centered care, we can help improve health outcomes and reach our collective goal to end the HIV epidemic.
Demetre C. Daskalakis, MD, MPH
Division of HIV Prevention
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention