Community partners seek to increase awareness of PrEP availability among transgender women and men who have sex with men
January 22, 2016, Chicago IL — Project Inform and Outshine NW enthusiastically announce the launch of a new educational resource on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for transgender women. The launch will take place Friday, January 22 at the 2016 Creating Change conference in Chicago.
Entitled “Transcending Barriers for Safer Pleasure,” the new booklet marks the first major available resource on PrEP by and for the transgender community. Both organizations are also re-launching Project Inform’s current booklet, “Is Taking PrEP the Right Choice for You?” written for men who have sex with men (MSM). It is now updated with inclusive language and information for transgender men who have sex with men.
Though not uniformly collected throughout the US, current data show high rates of HIV infection among transgender women, while other data point to a high proportion of transgender women who continue to be unaware of their current status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a meta-analysis of 29 published studies show that 27.7% of transgender women tested positive for HIV infection. One study found that 73% of those who tested positive did not know their status. Further, higher percentages of infection occur among transgender women of color.
Faced with injustice affecting housing stability, employment and healthcare access, transgender people are more likely to be put in situations that substantially increase risk for contracting HIV, while also having fewer resources for testing or treatment available. This new booklet for transgender women and the newly-revised booklet for men who have sex with men are the first in a series of dedicated educational outreach efforts that aim to uplift and empower transgender people to make informed, proactive and healthy decisions.
PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is an HIV prevention strategy that allows HIV-negative people to take a once-daily pill to prevent HIV. It has been proven highly effective in a broad range of people, is safe to take in combination with hormones, and is recommended for anyone at risk of contracting HIV.
Executive Director of Outshine NW, Brandyn Gallagher stated, “Our community has been desperately needing these resources, and I’m glad we’ve broken some ground to create them with Project Inform. Transgender women are fighting a serious crisis right now with regard to HIV and inadequate health care resources. Transgender men who have sex with men are widely excluded entirely from prevention research despite reporting higher rates of behaviors associated with HIV risk. Sexual health researchers, educators and providers must actively engage transgender people and develop culturally appropriate HIV prevention strategies if we want to see an end to the virus. Project Inform’s collaboration with us on this and other upcoming projects is a great example of such engagement.”
“By providing these new and revised booklets, Project Inform hopes to begin filling the noticeable gap in PrEP education by and for the transgender community,” said Director of Education Alan McCord. “We have been providing PrEP materials to the community and service providers since FDA approval in 2012. It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside Outshine NW to produce these booklets. We look forward to continuing to partner with them in building this resource.”
The Spanish version of the “Transcending Barriers for Safer Pleasure” booklet will be available in a couple of weeks. All of Project Inform’s PrEP materials can be read and copies ordered at www.projectinform.org/prep. The production of the new booklets has been underwritten with an educational grant from Gilead.
Christie Sowers [she, her], firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Communications & Development, Outshine NW
Alan McCord [he, him], email@example.com
Director of Education, Project Inform
Outshine NW is a small non-profit organization based in Seattle, WA that serves communities by promoting LGBTQ health and equity through education and advocacy. We actively engage medical professionals, social service providers, and community members from all walks of life to bridge communication divides and heal people.
Project Inform fights the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics by assuring the development of effective treatments and a cure; supporting individuals to make informed choices about their health; advocating for quality, affordable health care; and promoting medical strategies that prevent new infections.