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Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences

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

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.

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