US CDC updates HIV rates in transgender people

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

A new CDC analysis has reduced the estimated HIV prevalence among transgender women but shows rates are still high – and also provides first estimates for rates in transmen.

The analysis is important for providing the first update since 2008 in this population where limited data can be used to limit provision of health services.

Results were compiled from a systematic data review of 88 mainly cross-sectional studies from 2006 to 2017 that included both laboratory confirmed diagnoses and self-report studies.

Overall HIV prevalence estimates from laboratory-confirmed studies was 9.2% (95%CI:  6.0% to 13.7%) with 14.1% (95%CI : 8.7% to 22.2%) for transwomen and 3.2% (95%CI : 1.4% to 7.1%) for transmen.

Self-reported HIV rates overall were 16.1% (95%CI : 12.0% to 21.2%) with 21.0% (95%CI : 15.9% to 27.2%), and 1.2% (95%CI :  0.4% to 3.1%) for transwomen and transmen, respectively.

Subgroup analyses by race showed estimates were highest among black people (44%; 95%CI : 23% to 67%).

Participation in sex work was also very high – estimated overall at 31% but significantly higher for transwomen (38%) vs 13% in transmen.


Becasen JS et al. Estimating the prevalence of HIV and sexual behaviors among the US transgender population: a systematic review and meta-analysis, 2006–2017, American Journal of Public Health 109, no. 1 (January 1, 2019): pp. e1-e8. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304727.

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