XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Transphobia: an obstacle for transgender women in Nicaragua to access to public health and HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs

A.J. Martinez

Redlactrans Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua

Issues: The human rights of trans (transvestite, transformist, transgender and transexual) people are often ignored or not considered. These individuals not only experience discrimination due to their gender identity and expression but also because of their socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, sexual worker condition and/or HIV status. Transphobia is a result of a societal context of discrimination and stigmatization that the transgender population have been suffering for a long time. This is even worse for those transgender individuals who regularly engage in sexual work, which leads them to a situation of extreme social marginalization. This social exclusion and isolation impairs this group's ability to access public health services in general, and HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs in particular.
Description: RedLacTrans (Latin-American & Caribbean Transgender Network) conducted a study on the social reality and living conditions of transgender sexuall workers in Nicaragua. The main finding was that most individuals of that group were not accessing health services available in the country due to the transphobic discrimination. The organization then met with transgender leaders and public authorities to discuss this situation enphasizing the importance of community organizing and the need to fight human rights violations suffered by this social group.
Lessons learned: That coordination and networking among the transgender leaders was key to better represent and advocarte for transgender sexual workers and identify their unmet needs. That collaborative work between RedLacTrans and public officials led the issue of executive order 249-2009, which rules a higher quality and more sensitive health care for transgender individuals in Nicaragua.
Next steps: Monitore the agreements and executive order and support the initiatives of the transgender community. Eliminate barriers that prevent trans people to fully access public health services.
Promote the inclussion of the transgender community in human rights promotion/protection programs and projects.

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