Positive Life NSW and The Gender Centre Inc are proud to release our joint Community Report, ‘Trans and Gender Diverse Health and Social Needs Assessment’ today. This community-led and peer-designed research into the current health and social needs of the trans and gender diverse (TGD) community across Australia, guided by an Expert Advisory Group of nine TGD community members received responses from 699 participants from around Australia.
“We were delighted by the high number of respondents who completed the survey,” said Jane Costello, Positive Life CEO. “This response is indicative of the strength of involving community in the research process and ownership.”
“Findings from our research demonstrates how much work remains to be done to support trans and gender diverse people in accessing health services that affirm, monitor and support our health needs,” said Phinn Borg, Gender Centre Executive Director. “Our needs assessment was led and owned by trans and gender diverse people, and we were determined to keep our focus on the voices of the most marginalised and the most vulnerable members of our community experiencing challenging health outcomes.”
The Community Report presents findings from multiple areas of TGD health including access to healthcare settings and clinical experiences, gender affirming hormones and surgery experiences, sexual health literacy, mental health, housing, employment, discrimination, and future research directions.
“Findings from the survey showed that while the trans and gender diverse community in Australia have high levels of health literacy and engagement with health settings,” said Mr Borg, “we still face significant barriers to accessing the healthcare services we want and need.”
“Our participants reported financial barriers associated with healthcare, specifically costs related to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), gender affirming surgery and other specialist medical appointments, and particularly accessing these services through the public system,” he said.
Most participants wanted access to gender affirming healthcare, yet faced barriers such as prohibitive financial costs, lengthy waiting times for appointments, lack of information about HRT and access details especially in rural and regional areas, along with difficulties finding trans-aware and transition-friendly clinicians.
“Despite being highly linked into general healthcare services, our research demonstrated trans and gender diverse participants had low rates of HIV awareness and screening,” said Ms Costello. “We were also concerned to find that while just over half of all our respondents (54.8%) were aware of pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP or PEP), only 3.3% were taking PrEP,” said Ms Costello.
Positive Life is concerned with the findings that just over 9% of participants reported they had not received any HIV screening in six or more years, and just over 40% reported they had never had a HIV test.
The Community Report makes six recommendations including increased allocation of government funding, implementation of TGD inclusive policies across multiple sectors, development of additional resources, ongoing accurate data collection and research with TGD people, specific and developed TGD training, and TGD -led and community owned TGD awareness training. Once implemented, these recommendations will support the improved overall quality of life and access to health and social care for TGD people across Australia.
Community Report:Trans and gender diverse people health and social needs assessment