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More Research Needed Into How Transgender Persons in Asia, Pacific Affected by HIV, Stigma, Report Says

May 17, 2012

A report released Thursday in Bangkok by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) says more research needs to be conducted to determine the extent to which transgender persons in Asia and the Pacific are affected by HIV, are socially ostracized, and lack fundamental rights, including access to basic health care, a UNDP press release reports. The report, released to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, is "a comprehensive review of material gathered from across the region over the past 12 years" and "emphasizes that inclusive research, designed and implemented in partnership with the transgender community, is critical to enable governments, community-based organizations and supporting organizations to enhance HIV and sexual health care services specific to the needs of transgender people, and foster action by governments to adopt more socially equitable policies and practices to protect their rights," according to the press release (5/17).

"Report author Sam Winter, of Hong Kong University, urged governments to take note of the 'burning need to address a very human crisis,' pointing out many transgender people end up working as prostitutes and having unsafe sex," Agence France-Presse writes. "Social exclusion, poverty and HIV infection contribute to what we call a 'stigma sickness slope' -- a downward spiral that is difficult to reverse," he wrote in the study, which is titled "Lost in Transition: Transgender People, Rights and HIV Vulnerability in the Asia-Pacific Region," according to AFP. The news service writes, "[T]he study also highlighted positive developments, noting an increasingly confident transgender identity has taken root. It also detected greater will from the community to engage with mainstream services and policy discussions" (5/16).

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