Global Health Burden and Needs of Transgender Populations: A Review

Lancet. 2016 Jul 23;388(10042):412-436. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00684-X. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

Abstract

Transgender people are a diverse population affected by a range of negative health indicators across high-income, middle-income, and low-income settings. Studies consistently document a high prevalence of adverse health outcomes in this population, including HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, mental health distress, and substance use and abuse. However, many other health areas remain understudied, population-based representative samples and longitudinal studies are few, and routine surveillance efforts for transgender population health are scarce. The absence of survey items with which to identify transgender respondents in general surveys often restricts the availability of data with which to estimate the magnitude of health inequities and characterise the population-level health of transgender people globally. Despite the limitations, there are sufficient data highlighting the unique biological, behavioural, social, and structural contextual factors surrounding health risks and resiliencies for transgender people. To mitigate these risks and foster resilience, a comprehensive approach is needed that includes gender affirmation as a public health framework, improved health systems and access to health care informed by high quality data, and effective partnerships with local transgender communities to ensure responsiveness of and cultural specificity in programming. Consideration of transgender health underscores the need to explicitly consider sex and gender pathways in epidemiological research and public health surveillance more broadly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproductive Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Stigma
  • Transgender Persons / psychology
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Transsexualism / epidemiology*
  • Transsexualism / psychology