XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Barriers to health services by transgender women caught on tape!!

F. De Gregori1, M. Romero2, L. Paulo3, R. Mayorga4, M. Tallarico5, C. Nunez6, R. Mazin3, W. Hege6

1Independent, Limq, Peru, 2REDLACTRANS, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 3PAHO / OMS, Washington, United States, 4UNAIDS, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 5UNDP, Panama City, Panama, 6UNAIDS, Panama City, Panama

Issues: There is little awareness of the barriers faced by transgender women to access health and other services in Latin America. Health services often lack personnel with expertise in the unique health conditions of this population, which include changes in their bodies though the use of hormones and silicone. STIs, substance abuse and depression as a result of stigma and discrimination are other frequently unaddressed heath conditions. Access to health services is significantly hampered by the practice to call transgender women by their birth (male) name in health settings, which is often accompanied by disrespectful remarks.
These barriers, combined with and widespread violence and poor access to justice, education and other services, makes this population very vulnerable to HIV, with prevalence ranging from 21.5% to 40% in Latin America in the last decade.
Description: Civil society, international organizations (WHO, UNDP and UNAIDS) and national governments of Latin America partnered to produce a 90-minutes documentary, Translatina, as part of an advocacy initiative to give visibility to the barriers faced by transgender women to access health, education, justice and other services and to promote legislative, policy and programmatic reforms to remove these barriers. Concluded in November 2009, the documentary contains testimonies of representatives of transgender organizations from 15 countries and includes disturbing images of exclusion and violence.
Lessons learned: Translatina is an excellent tool for advocacy and sensitization of health care providers. Since it is not fictional it serves as an illustration of real effects of the exclusion of transgender women.
Next steps: Translatina will be launched during highly visible events and used as to guide to reorient and expand health care for this population in Latin American countries. Copies for other regions (with English, French, Italian and possibly German subtitles) can be obtained from sida@paho.org

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