The research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases in March, involved data collected from 11,000 trans women in 15 different countries. The report is the result of combining 39 studies conducted between 2000 and 2011 that reported on HIV prevalence among transgender women compared to the general adult population.
Among the possible causes for the high numbers, researchers said many trans women engage in sex work.
Dr. Stefan Baral, who led the study, told The Huffington Post another reason is that governments and health care providers believe HIV is more common among gay men and thus do not provide the necessary resources for transgender women. He added a lack of free hormone treatments could lead some trans women to sharing dirty needles.
“People think if you provide services that’s enough,” Baral said. “You have to be providing, but you also need people to actually seek out those services and use them.”
The data came from countries “with male-predominant HIV epidemics,” including six Asia-Pacific countries, five Latin American countries, three European countries and the United States.
The authors concluded that “present HIV surveillance and prevention interventions for transgender women are clearly inadequate … the findings of this meta-analysis make clear that urgency is needed to address this severe and widespread component of worldwide HIV.”