Australia: Transgender People Attending a Sydney Sexual Health Service Over a 16-Year Period
October 5, 2007
Previous studies have shown that transgender people are a marginalized and stigmatized group, characterized by high rates of STDs, sex work, injecting drug use, and multiple sex partners. In the current study, the authors focused on the sexual behavior and sexual health needs of transgender people attending an urban sexual health clinic in Sydney, Australia.
From 1990 and 2006, a retrospective case note review was performed on transgender clients of the Sydney Sexual Health Center (SSHC). Researchers assessed demographics, gender characteristics, risk behaviors, sexual health morbidity, psychosocial information, and other significant features of the transgender population.
Of the 40 clients identified as transgender, 36 (90 percent) were male-to-female, and four (10 percent) were female-to-male. Seventeen (43 percent) had a history of sex work, 16 (40 percent) had injected drugs, and 14 (35 percent) reported unprotected anal or vaginal sex in the previous three months. Twenty (50 percent) of the clients had a previous STD diagnosis, including three (7.5 percent) who were HIV-positive, of which two were co-infected with hepatitis C. For the study period, the most common diagnoses were genital warts and chlamydia. Physical examination was inadequately documented in 53 percent of first visits. Psychosocial morbidity was common.
"Transgender clients presented infrequently at this clinic," the authors said. "Although half reported few risks, the other half reported multiple risk behaviors and had most [sexually transmitted infections]. These findings suggest that there needs to be improved sexual health service for transgender clients at our clinic."
08.2007; Sexual Health Vol. 4; No. 3: P. 189-193; Victoria L. Hounsfield; Eleanor Freedman; Anna McNulty; Christopher Bourne