Supported by Gilead Sciences, the Destination Tomorrow TRANScend Community Impact Fund will address the disproportionate impact of HIV within Transgender communities with a specific focus on supporting grassroots organizations. The program will be national in scope and largely prioritize organizations led by or primarily serving Trans communities including grassroots initiatives. The program will prioritize organizations serving those areas that are disproportionately impacted by HIV, including southern regions of the United States.
Destination Tomorrow’s TRANScend Community Impact Fund will address the disproportionate impact of HIV within Transgender communities with a specific focus on supporting organizations led by and primarily serving Transgender men and women (including GNCGNB individuals), specifically grassroots initiatives. The program will prioritize organizations serving those areas that have been disproportionately impacted by HIV, including southern regions of the United States.
Transgender people are one of the groups most impacted by the HIV epidemic. According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 14% of Transgender women are living with HIV, and rates are disproportionately high among Transgender women of color. An estimated 44% of Black/African American Transgender women, 26% of Hispanic/Latina Transgender women, and 7% of white Transgender women are living with HIV. Within the past decade, about half of diagnosis among Transgender women were people living in the U.S. South.
Despite the alarming rates within Transgender communities it is believed that these numbers are still grossly incorrectly documented. One of the main sources of monitoring HIV trends in the United States, CDC’s National HIV Surveillance System, is relatively new, having only been implemented in all 50 states and 6 US dependent areas since 2008.
Other sources of surveillance data are CDC’s Medical Monitoring Project and National HIV Behavioral Surveillance. Despite the progress that has been made in monitoring HIV trends in the United States, there is still a lack of surveillance data that represents HIV trends amongst transgender populations.[2} This is largely due to the absence of an accurate system of accounting for transgender people by local, state, and federal agencies. Data collection instruments do not adequately provide a way in which people can indicate their respective gender identities. Thus, transgender people are often missed and inaccurately counted in surveillance methods with transgender women often misclassified as MSM.
Numerous factors place transgender persons at high risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV. These risk factors include high HIV prevalence, which is exacerbated by unprotected sex; lack of knowledge of HIV status; Low perception of risk for HIV; Stigma and discrimination due to being transgender; High STD rates; and a lack of transgender-appropriate/affirming HIV education and prevention activities.
HIV-related services and interventions are often designed for other at-risk groups and have been adapted for transgender populations. The effectiveness of these interventions is often understudied, particularly for trans-masculine population. Many transgender populations face stigma, discrimination, social rejection, and social exclusion that serve as significant barriers to accessing health care and other services, and also put them at increased risk for HIV. A lack of knowledge of transgender-specific health issues among health and other services providers also creates barriers to accessing services.
Surveillance Systems. (2019, October 30). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/surveillance/systems/index.html.
Gerwen OV, Muzny C, Austin E, et al. 784 Prevalence of STIs and HIV in transgender women and men: a systematic review. Sexually Transmitted Infections 2019;95:A335
Recommendations for Inclusive Data Collection of Trans People in HIV Prevention, Care & Services. (2009). Retrieved from https://prevention.ucsf.edu/transhealth/education/data-recs-long
Destination Tomorrow’s TRANScend Community Impact Fund hopes to address these and other practices that continue to place Transgender populations at risk by providing funding to transgender-led organizations, programs, and initiatives. Additionally, the program aims to reduce a range of additional barriers by supporting the development and capacity of these organizations throughout participation in the initiative. The goals of this program include:
The program will utilize a participatory grantmaking framework that aims to shift decision making power about funding decisions, including the strategy and criteria behind those decisions to the community in which the fund is serving. This will be demonstrated through the use of Destination Tomorrow’s advisory team that includes transgender leaders from throughout the United States. Destination Tomorrow will also utilize a grant review committee which will be composed entirely of members of transgender communities throughout the country. The program aims to honor the core themes of participatory grantmaking including:
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