By: Nuchi Nweneka

When we hear about HIV, we know it is related with different ‘myths and misconception around the world, mostly in Nigeria and Africa at large.

According to the last IBBSS survey the transgender community is on the highest on HIV prevalence with a staggering 29%, and this is due to different factors some of which will be explained during the cause of this discussion. There have been various myths, misconceptions, and belief about HIV and how it is related to the transgender community, in Nigeria and in Africa where we are filled with different cultures, religions and tribes they are some that believe that HIV is a curse placed on the LGBTQIA+ community mostly the transgender community because of their sexual identity, orientation and characteristics.

Before we get to discuss this issue lets first talk about HIV, HIV is Human in deficiency Virus and its mode of transmission and they are through sexual intercourse with an infected person, sharing of sharp objects like blade and syringes, transfusion of unscreened blood, mother to child transmission and through male and female circumcision.

Various organizations are doing their best to negate these myths by creating awareness, advocacy, sensitizing and educating the public and the Transgender community on HIV and why it affects the transgender community a lot leading to the high HIV prevalence in the transgender community.

When we look at the high prevalence of HIV, we realize that they are various factors that causes such increase and they are:

Harm Reduction services (NSP) a lot of transgender individuals do not have comprehensive information and knowledge about harm reduction thereby leading to them sharing needles as many people might not know apart from the PWID community the transgender community are the highest injectors be it for hormonal therapy, drug use and drug for exchange of protection thereby leading to transgender individuals practicing in these risky behaviors without understanding the need to exchange or dispose used needles leading to risk of acquiring HIV.

Secondly there is lack of HIV education in the transgender community and this mainly owing to the transgender community not being carried along in key intervention programs.

Thirdly the transgender community is seen as not being visible and this has led to the community being left out and the increase of HIV in the community.

Harmony caregivers Foundation as an organization is willing to address these issues through advocacy, sensitization, awareness, education on HIV and Harm reduction service provision thereby helping to reduce the HIV prevalence in the transgender community and correct the myths, misconceptions and beliefs surrounding the transgender community.