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Changes in regular condom use among immigrant transsexuals attending a counselling and testing reference site in central Rome: a 12 year study
  1. M Zaccarelli1,
  2. L Spizzichino2,
  3. S Venezia2,
  4. A Antinori1,
  5. P Gattari2
  1. 1National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani,” Rome, Italy
  2. 2AIDS Unit ASL RM/E, Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Mauro Zaccarelli
 National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani,” Via Portuense 292, 00149-Rome, Italy;


Objective: To analyse data from male to female transsexuals attending between 1992 and 2003 an outpatient clinic considered the main HIV counselling and testing site in Rome for foreign people.

Methods: Data collected between 1992 and 2003, from a routine anti-HIV testing and counselling activity, were analysed. A brief standard interview was performed at each test. A cross sectional analysis to assess the association of regular condom use with demographic and behavioural variables using multiple logistic regression was performed. A follow up analysis to define the effect of single factors on the occurrence of new anti-HIV seroconversions was also performed. The incidence of anti-HIV seroconversion was calculated in person years of observation.

Results: Overall, 473 transsexuals sex workers were tested. Most of them (99%) were from South America (mainly Columbia and Brazil). Anti-HIV prevalence was 32%, but a progressive decrease over time was observed (from 57% in 1993 to12% in 2003). The proportion of patients reporting regular condom use at enrolment was 75%. A progressive increase in regular condom use was reported over time (from 43% in 1992–3 to 79% in 2002–3). 15 new HIV infections were observed during follow up (incidence 2.1 per 100 person years). Though the proportion of patients reporting regular condom use increased over time, 10 out of the 15 new infections occurred in patients reporting unprotected sex during follow up (rate 8.4 per 100 person years).

Conclusions: Our data suggest that counselling may lead to an increase in safe sex practices among immigrant transsexuals. However, the incidence of new HIV infections is still high and mainly related to non-regular condom use, which still remains the primary objective of prevention.

  • immigrants
  • transsexuals
  • condom

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