HIV study to examine transgender treatment

CDU researcher Dr Belinda Chaplin is investigating the experiences of trans and gender diverse Australians living with HIV. Photo: Julianne Osborne

Charles Darwin University researchers are seeking transgender Australians living with HIV to share their post-diagnosis psychosocial and medical experiences.

The new study will explore issues including the transgender population’s healthcare access, and investigate if stigma attached to HIV, coupled with being trans, amplifies discrimination.

The study also will explore how a diagnosis affects personal relationships.

Principal investigator Dr Belinda Chaplin said up to four per cent of HIV-positive people in Australia may be trans and gender diverse, but information about their experiences was insufficient to guide tailored healthcare or inform wellbeing support services.

“The HIV conversation almost always focuses on gay and bisexual men, injecting drug users, heterosexual contact, or a combination of these things,” Dr Chaplin said.

“There is no reliable information on cases of the disease among the Australian trans population.”

Dr Chaplin, a Nursing Lecturer, said the study would contribute knowledge and raise greater awareness of the social problems faced by trans and gender diverse people.

“The outcomes of this research will be driven by what people want to tell me,” she said. “If someone has something to say, their voice will be heard.”

Dr Chaplin said the most recent study suggested about 1.4 per cent of the global population identified as transgender and gender diverse, had considered undergoing gender transition, or had begun gender transition.

More than 37,000 Australians have been diagnosed with HIV since notifications began in 1984.

Source: CDU

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