HIV and HIV risk behaviors among male-to-female transgender individuals in Tijuana, Mexico

Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Exhibit hall (Dena'ina Center)
Kristian J Salas-Espinoza, MPH , Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Rufino Menchaca-Diaz, PhD , Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
Adriana O Vargas, PhD , Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico
INTRODUCTION:  Transgender is a term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including but not limited to transsexuals, cross-dressers, transvestites and gender non-conforming people. In the United States, several studies have suggested a high burden of HIV infection among male-to-female transgender individuals (MTFT). The aim of this study was to assess HIV and HIV risk behavior in MTFT in Tijuana, México.

METHODS:  This was cross-sectional study design. The survey was done between January and June 2013 in Tijuana, México. Time location sampling was the recruiting method. Information was collected through an individual interview using a structured questionnaire, and blood collection to test for HIV.

RESULTS:  One hundred and twenty MTFT were identified. Only 100 agreed to participate in the study. Twenty two tested positive for HIV, of those, only 12 have previous knowledge of their serological status. Sixty six of MTFT interviewed do commercial sex. Twenty two did´t use a condom in the last month, and 73 declared use of alcohol or drugs (principally metaanphetamines and marijuana) in the last month.

CONCLUSIONS:  High prevalence of HIV was found in this MTFT sample, and a very high frequency of HIV related risk behaviors. MTFT must be considered as a vulnerable group to HIV and specific preventive strategies are needed.