Objectives: We estimated the prevalence and incidence of gender identity disorder (GID) diagnoses among veterans in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care system and examined suicide risk among veterans with a GID diagnosis.
Methods: We examined VHA electronic medical records from 2000 through 2011 for 2 official ICD-9 diagnosis codes that indicate transgender status. We generated annual period prevalence estimates and calculated incidence using the prevalence of GID at 2000 as the baseline year. We cross-referenced GID cases with available data (2009-2011) of suicide-related events among all VHA users to examine suicide risk.
Results: GID prevalence in the VHA is higher (22.9/100 000 persons) than are previous estimates of GID in the general US population (4.3/100 000 persons). The rate of suicide-related events among GID-diagnosed VHA veterans was more than 20 times higher than were rates for the general VHA population.
Conclusions: The prevalence of GID diagnosis nearly doubled over 10 years among VHA veterans. Research is needed to examine suicide risk among transgender veterans and how their VHA utilization may be enhanced by new VA initiatives on transgender care.