emphasis on health rights of transgender (Hijra) community in Bangladesh to
HIV/AIDS and STD Alliance Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Hijra is usually considered a member of, “the third gender”, neither man nor
woman. Most are physically male or intersex, but some are physically female. Hijras
face extreme discrimination in the society in every aspect, especially on
health as they do not fall in any gender category of the society. Most of the
cases it is found that, most Hijras are engaged in sex work. A survey conducted
among the hijra community shows that, in Dhaka 98.9% of participants had
engaged in selling sexual services only 3.4% using condoms. This shows the high
vulnerability of the Hijra group towards HIV/AIDS.
Description: It is
difficult for health care providers and researchers to gain access to the hijra
community as they live in hiding. The reasons are, categories generally used in
health care and HIV/AIDS circles for describing high risk groups, such as MSM,
do not capture the complex gender identity of Hijra. This affects a large
majority at high risk population to disclose their status and receive
hijras are discouraged form meeting in public places, expressing their
opinions, which limits their participation in seeking of public health
services. This means that Hijra sex workers do not only run high risk of acquiring
HIV, but also of transmitting the virus to their clients.
Lessons learned: A
strong health care rights policy for Hijra community is needed immediately to
minimize spread of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh.
Reasearch is needed to assess whether the current health and HIV/AIDS policies adequately
address the needs of the Hijra community. This will help the promotion of their
health and human rights as well as to take preventive measures for the spread
of HIV/AIDS among these groups.
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