Introduction In Brazil most transvestites and trasgender women live unfavourable social conditions. Excluded from family and school, they find in prostitution the only form of survival.
There are few studies that distinguish epidemiological data between transvestites and transgender women, and those performed with other groups with the same social characteristics point to vulnerabiity to HIV/AIDS and co-infection tuberculosis. The absence of socio demographic and health data on this population makes it difficult to analyse in depth, compromising the control of health problems. This study characterised the profile of transvestites ans transgender women participating in a survey regarding tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in the city of São Paulo, Brasil
Methods This cross-sectional study employed the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) questionnaire adapted for data collection. Socio demographic aspects as well as aspects related to history of imprisonment, process of gender transition, use of condoms, previous treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis and knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS were addressed.
Results The study included 58 transvestites and 66 transgender women. There were differences between the two groups regarding shooling (p=0.008), prostitution (p<0.001), imprisonment (p<0.001), silicone injections (p=0.005), and hormone therapy without medical guidance (p=0.004). All trans women (100%) and 80% of transvestites mentioned treatment of syphilis; 25.9% of transvestites reported tuberculosis/HIV co-infection. The investigation regarding knowledge of HIV/AIDS revealed insconsistent use of condoms and mistaken beliefs related to modes of transmission.
Conclusion The present results show that transvestites and trans women were vulnerable to tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The differences observed between the two groups suggest the need for different approaches to transvestites and transgender women in future studies.
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