Travestis are highly vulnerable to HIV infection in Brazil. We conducted a survey among 304 travestis using Respondent-Driven Sampling from August to December 2008. Travestis are young (49% B24 years), poorly educated (55% just elementary school), low social class (62% Class C-E), reside with families (49%) or friends/madam (22%), are victims of homophobia (91%) and violence (61%). They report early sexual debut (75% B14), many sexual partners, drug use during sex (43%), and unprotected sex (male partner, 47%, both male and female partners, 50%). Sex work is common (82%, 59% 10 partners last six months)and relatively low cost (median US$24). A majority report testing for HIV (69%), and report high prevalence (12% disclosed a positive result). Almost all the respondents refused to test in the study. Interventions, targeted to both travestis and to the general community about sexual discrimination, are necessary.
Travestis, an Unexplored Population at Risk of HIV in a Large Metropolis of Northeast Brazil: A Respondent Driven Sampling Survey
By Telma A. Martins, Ligia Regina F.S. Kerr, Raimunda H.M. Macena, Rosa S. Mota, Kalina L. Carneiro, Rogério C. Gondim, & Carl Kendall, 2013