Anglia Ruskin University
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Self-reported access to health care, communicable diseases, violence and perception of legal status among online transgender identifying sex workers in the UK

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posted on 2023-07-26, 15:08 authored by Sarah Steele, V. Taylor, Matia Vannoni, Eduardo Hernandez-Salazar, Martin McKee, Andrew Amato-Gauci, David Stuckler, Jan C. Semenza
Objectives: Transgender-identifying sex workers (TGISWs) are among the most vulnerable groups but are rarely the focus of health research. Here we evaluated perceived barriers to healthcare access, risky sexual behaviours and exposure to violence in the United Kingdom (UK), based on a survey of all workers on BirchPlace, the main transgender sex commerce website in the UK. Study design: The study design used in the study is an opt-in text-message 12-item questionnaire. Methods: Telephone contacts were harvested from BirchPlace's website (n = 592 unique and active numbers). The questionnaire was distributed with Qualtrics software, resulting in 53 responses. Results: Our survey revealed significant reported barriers to healthcare access, exposure to risky sexual behaviours and to physical violence. Many transgender sex workers reportedly did not receive a sexual screening, and 28% engaged in condomless penetrative sex within the preceding six months, and 68% engaged in condomless oral sex. 17% responded that they felt unable to access health care they believed medically necessary. Half of the participants suggested their quality of life would be improved by law reform. Conclusions: TGISWs report experiencing a high level of risky sexual behaviour, physical violence and inadequate healthcare access. Despite a National Health System, additional outreach may be needed to ensure access to services by this population.



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