From investigation to community participation: the HIV infection prevalence study in the transgender population in Lima, Peru, as collaborative work between the organization Red Trans Peru and the Instituto de Estudios en Salud, Sexualidad y Desarrollo Humano (IESSDH)
J. Villayzán1, A. Silva Santisteban2, M. Peña Hernández1, L. Huerta Castillo3, J. Martinez2
1Red Nacional por los Derechos de las Personas Travestis, Transgéneros y Transexuales del Perú, Lima, Peru, 2Instituto de Estudios en Salud, Sexualidad y Desarrollo Humano, Lima, Peru, 3Bloque Trans, Lima, Peru
Issues: In Peru, studies about the transgender population have been, until now, scarce. This HIV prevalence study in the transgender population, carried out in Lima, Peru, was implemented by the IESSDH and the organization Red Trans Peru. We seek to highlight the results of the cooperation between an organization of transgender individuals and an institute of investigation in an epidemiologic study that utilized the methodology of Respondent Driven Sampling.
Description: This pioneering study was planned by IESSDH and Red Trans together. The survey was designed and validated by transgender individuals. Two transgender leaders implemented the survey and a transgender medical technologist collected samples from the participants. All were properly trained for the job. The enrollment of 450 participants was achieved thanks to the knowledge that the leaders had about transgender social networks in Lima.
Lessons learned: This experience demonstrated the importance of community participation in this type of study. Thanks to this collaboration, we were able to reach hidden population, which would have been difficult to access by any other means. The survey was culturally appropriate and, because it was implemented by the transgender leaders, the participants felt a greater level of trust. Importantly, individuals from this population have been trained to carry out this type of investigation in any context.
Next steps: It is important to continue training transgender leaders in this type of investigation, so that they can be active participants, including in epidemiologic surveillance that could be carried out in the transgender population. All of this will increase their inclusion and empowerment, in addition to guiding states in formulating better public policies for universal access.
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