Less than half of sexually active trans people in the US know about PrEP and only 3% of them use it.
That’s according to a new study by the Williams Institute.
Researchers also discovered that 23% of transgender people who are at high risk of HIV infection have never taken an HIV test. Just 46% take an HIV test annually.
Dr Ilan Meyer, the study’s main researcher, said:
‘That awareness of PrEP was so low among sexually active trans women is concerning given the high rates of HIV among trans women.
‘It is also troubling that a significant percentage of sexually active transgender people are not being tested or taking advantage of advancements that prevent the spread of HIV.’
Most trans people don’t know about PrEP
PrEP is a drug called with the brand name Truvada or cheaper generic versions of it. You can take it daily or with a special ‘on-demand’ regimen. And it is highly effective at preventing people getting HIV, even if they have sex without using a condom.
It has contributed to historic falls in HIV infection rates in countries where it is widely available. Indeed, HIV experts say it is a game changer that could help end new HIV infections by 2030.
But the new research found just 48% of sexually active transgender people are familiar with PrEP. It also found a large gender difference with 58% of trans men but just 35% of trans women knowing about PrEP.
Of those trans people who did know about PrEP, 72% had a favorable attitude towards it.
Despite this, just 3.2% of trans women and only 2.3% of trans men actually use the tablets.
The figures are worrying because trans people are generally at greater risk of HIV. Infection rates are higher among trans people even by comparison to the rest of the LGBT+ community.
But notably, the research indicated HIV prevention messages are getting through better to black and Latinx trans people.
The researchers found transgender people of color were eight times more likely than white transgender people to be tested at least once per year.