A new study found that transgender women are three times more likely than transgender men to get tested for HIV. File photo by Michael Kleinfeld/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Transgender women and minorities appear to have more access to HIV testing, according to a new study by the University at Buffalo.
The study, published in the October edition of Transgender Health, found that transgender women took triple the number of HIV tests compared to transgender men.
A previous study published in July found that initiating antiretroviral therapy on the same day as HIV testing can lead to improved outcomes in HIV patients.
Researchers analyzed data from the New York State AIDS Institute Reporting System collected between 2007 and 2013, along with interviews conducted with 27 self-identified transgender men and women over age 18 who received an HIV test at a Western New York community health care center.
Twenty-three of the participants were transgender women, 40 percent were white, 30 percent were African-American and more than half were sex workers or had been jailed at some point. Almost all of the participants reported a history of substance abuse.
The study found that transgender women received more than three times the number of HIV tests as men.
African-Americans and Hispanic transgender participants also had more than twice the number of HIV tests as Caucasian transgender men and women.
"Testing rates are likely higher in these populations because of testing availability in an incarcerated setting with an inmate clinic," Adrian Juarez, assistant professor in the UB School of Nursing, said in a press release.
"Current evidence also shows that self-perceived HIV risk is a huge motivator for some to seek out an HIV test, which in turn may be the factor as to why trans individuals with only male sex partners and sex workers tested more frequently."
Researchers used the HIV treatment strategy of seek, test, treat and retain, or STTR, models to analyze the discrepancies in testing between these groups.
Participants who enrolled in support groups were also found to receive more testing.