Q and A

Question

As a trans* woman living with HIV, can I have further surgery?

As a trans* woman living with HIV, is it still possible for me to have surgery?

I would like to have lower surgery at some point in the future, but I’m worried that having HIV will make this difficult. Does anyone know of any potential problems?

Answer

Hi,

Thanks for your question.

Being HIV positive is not a reason for not having any type of surgery. Although in the past some surgeons had a prejudice against HIV positive people, this shouldn’t be the case any longer.

Any surgeon that still shows this prejudice is not someone that you would want to be carrying to this work. In the UK, surgeons that specialise in gender-based surgery on the NHS should not be concerned about your HIV status, though it is something that they would want to know prior to the operation.

As long as you are in good general health there is no reason that your HIV should stop you having any surgery. Generally there is no greater risk through surgery for HIV positive than HIV negative patients. This goes for lower surgery and any other minor or major surgeries that you may have in the future.

When planning surgery, it is often better to already be taking HIV treatment. This will make sure your immune system is strong enough to reduce the risk of complication after the operation. These risks are higher if your CD4 count is below 200 or if you have a high viral load.

Details about a UK transgender health clinic that has been running in London since 2012, are on the CliniQ website.

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