A study published in Transgender Health has found that black and Hispanic transgender women in New York are twice as likely to get tested for HIV as white transgender women. The research — which sought to identify HIV testing patterns among trans people in urban settings — also found that trans women were three times more likely to get tested than trans men.
Researchers from the University of Buffalo in New York believe that access to testing and self-perceived risk were among the key reasons for the higher testing rates among trans women of color. In particular, they found that trans women who had sex primarily or solely with men and those engaged in sex work were more aware of their risks and thus more likely to get tested when it was available. Black and Hispanic trans women who had a history of incarceration were also more likely to get regular HIV tests. The higher rates may in part be attributed to the availability of HIV testing within the New York state prison system.
The study size was small, with only 27 participants. Of that number, four were trans men, 40 percent were white, 30 percent black, and 19 percent Hispanic. Additionally, over half (55.6 percent) had a history of sex work, and that same number had also been incarcerated. Nearly all (96 percent) of the respondents reported a history of substance abuse, and only six participants (22 percent) had health insurance.