Inter-CFAR Transgender Health Scientific Working Group

Writer: Alicia Diggs

The first inaugural Inter CFAR Transgender Health Scientific Working Group took place October 21, 2021. The working group uses a shared leadership model to work together across CFARs. The leadership team consists of Tonia Poteat (UNC), Will Beckham (Hopkins), Laramie Smith (UCSD), Andrea Wirtz (Hopkins). The team initially met to brainstorm on priorities for the Inter CFAR Transgender Health Working Group and what they hoped to accomplish as a group. They aimed to capitalize on the benefits of working across the different CFARs. They discussed three main pillars for the working group:

  1. Advancing the science
  • addressing gaps in data in trans health and HIV
  • addressing community priorities within those gaps with the goal of advancing the health of trans communities
  1. Community empowerment and collaboration
  • meaningful engagement with communities in equitable partnerships
  1. Networking development and strengthening
  • building a network of trans health researchers and community members to collaborate and strengthen relationships across the CFARs

The group also discussed communication strategies that would effectively disseminate research findings in ways that are useful and accessible to communities. JD Davids of Brooklyn New York and one of the co-authors of No Data No More-Manifesto to Align HIV Prevention Research with Trans and Gender-Diverse Realities, presented highlights from the document. The manifesto is a call to action for advocates, researchers, implementers, funders. Trans and gender diverse people are highly underserved and the data show that trans women are up to 49 times and trans men are up to 8 times as likely to be living with HIV compared with cisgender adults. There too few data on non-binary people to make an estimate of HIV burden. Trans and gender diverse populations have been overlooked in research. Trans women have been incorrectly categorized as cis MSM and trans men have been invisible. Given the stigma, violence, and marginalization faced by trans and gender diverse populations, they are less likely to receive HIV testing, start or adhere to PrEP, or maintain viral load suppression compared with cisgender people. The manifesto lists 22 recommendations that reflects a vision for trans-led HIV prevention research with true ownership in trans and gender diverse communities.

The full manifesto can be found on the AVAC website www.avac.org/no-data-no-more

The next meeting of the Inter-CFAR Transgender Health Working Group will be held on January 27th, 2022, 3:30-5:00p ET. The group will be discussing “Strategies for Community Compensation in Research.” For more information, or to register, please contact Tabs Faulkner (tabs_faulkner@med.unc.edu).