This HIV awareness week, our founder, June, was invited to speak to representatives from various HIV organizations around Asia Pacific.
Coming from a community with a relatively high HIV transmission rate, June shared why transgender individuals, particularly sex workers, are at such risk. Even with the risk of transmission, sexual behaviour is equivalent to employment and survival for many of them.
Knowing this, there are ways healthcare professionals can provide better care for transgender patients. The most basic is using the patient’s preferred name as opposed to official name, which is not legally mandated. Giving basic respect and treating patients as people instead of looking at their gender starts the safe environment that will produce sustained treatment.
Apart from sharing why the transgender community is a key affected population, a quite survey of the crowd indicates that Singapore is the one of the few countries in the region that has no HIV prevention programs for the transgenders. Almost every country in the region, from Thailand to Malaysia, Philippines to Pakistan, every country has a program for this underserved community.
Through this conference, we learnt the network and resources available in the region for HIV awareness and prevention. HIV prevention and treatment for Singapore’s transgender community is a primary focus at The T Project. If you are interested in research or providing resources to support us, please drop us a message.