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The human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) says it will conduct the first South African integrated biological and behavioural survey looking at HIV prevalence in South African transgender women.

The study will be conducted in Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Buffalo City Metro in the Eastern Cape beginning later this month. It aims to survey 300 transgender women in each of the three study sites, with a total sample of 900 respondents.

HSRC chief executive Professor Crain Soudien said South Africa would be able to document the HIV prevalence in transgender women for the first time.

“The data can also be used to monitor the sequential stages of HIV medical care, that is the care and treatment cascade that transgender women experience from diagnosis to achieving the goal of viral suppression” Soudien said.

“Our fight against HIV will gain traction if we investigate and understand the significant behaviours, attitudes and perceptions which can contribute towards infection, effective treatment and support.”

The study will identify the social, structural, economic and cultural factors related to HIV infection in transgender women, understand risk behaviours and practices related to HIV infection and onward transmission in transgender women and determine the percentage of transgender women who are HIV positive in the study sites. - African News Agency/ANA