HIV prevalence, risk behaviour, and treatment and prevention cascade outcomes among cisgender men, transgender women, and transgender men who sell sex in Zimbabwe: a cross-sectional analysis of programme data

Mariëlle Kloek, Sungai T. Chabata, Laura van Noord, Fortunate Machingura, Rumbidzo Makandwa, Jeffrey Dirawo, Albert Takaruza, Primrose Matambanadzo, Sake J. de Vlas, Jan A.C. Hontelez*, Frances M. Cowan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: There is a paucity of evidence on HIV vulnerabilities and service engagements among people who sell sex in sub-Saharan Africa and identify as cisgender men, transgender women, or transgender men. We aimed to describe sexual risk behaviours, HIV prevalence, and access to HIV services among cisgender men, transgender women, and transgender men who sell sex in Zimbabwe. Methods: We did a cross-sectional analysis of routine programme data that were collected between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2020, from cisgender men who sell sex, transgender women who sell sex, and transgender men who sell sex, as part of accessing sexual and reproductive health and HIV services provided through the Sisters with a Voice programme, at 31 sites across Zimbabwe. All people who sell sex reached by the programme had routine data collected, including routine HIV testing, and were referred using a network of peer educators. Sexual risk behaviours, HIV prevalence, and HIV services uptake during the period from July, 2018, to June, 2020, were analysed through descriptive statistics by gender group. Findings: A total of 1003 people who sell sex were included in our analysis: 423 (42·2%) cisgender men, 343 (34·2%) transgender women, and 237 (23·6%) transgender men. Age-standardised HIV prevalence estimates were 26·2% (95% CI 22·0–30·7) among cisgender men, 39·4% (34·1–44·9) among transgender women, and 38·4% (32·1–45·0) among transgender men. Among people living with HIV, 66·0% (95% CI 55·7–75·3) of cisgender men, 74·8% (65·8–82·4) of transgender women, and 70·2% (59·3–79·7) of transgender men knew their HIV status, and 15·5% (8·9–24·2), 15·7% (9·5–23·6), and 11·9% (5·9–20·8) were on antiretroviral therapy, respectively. Self-reported condom use was consistently low across gender groups, ranging from 26% (95% CI 22–32) for anal sex among transgender women to 32% (27–37) for vaginal sex among cisgender men. Interpretation: These unique data show that people who sell sex and identify as cisgender men, transgender women, or transgender men in sub-Saharan Africa have high HIV prevalences and risk of infection, with alarmingly low access to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services. There is an urgent need for people-centred HIV interventions for these high-risk groups and for more inclusive HIV policies and research to ensure we truly attain universal access for all. Funding: Aidsfonds Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e453-e460
JournalThe Lancet HIV
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding: Aidsfonds Netherlands.

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 Elsevier Ltd

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