Good sexual health is vital for everyone, and Terrence Higgins Trust have the resources to help
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA TERRENCE HIGGINS TRUST
New trans-specific sexual health information – led by and celebrating trans, non-binary and gender diverse people – has been published by the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust.
This comes as new data from more than 200 trans, non-binary and gender diverse people shows the sexual health needs of these groups are not currently being met – whether that’s in terms of hormones and surgery, or HIV and STI prevention. Good sexual health is vital for everyone. Trans, non-binary and gender diverse people often find they are left out of mainstream information relating to health and wellbeing, but everyone should be afforded the right to happy, healthy sex.
The charity found that more than half (52%) of respondents said they didn’t feel fully in control of their sex life, with over 70% saying that feelings of negativity and low mood or depression was a factor in this.
45% of respondents had never tested for HIV, while 25% hadn’t heard of prevention pill PrEP. This comes despite almost half (46%) having reported condomless sex in the previous year.
Regarding how these issues should be tackled, 90% said there was a need for targeted sexual health information that includes navigating sex, consent and empowerment.
Rory, who is a trans man and one of the models in the new campaign, said: “Whenever I’ve tried to look up sexual health information for myself, the resources I find online are never detailed enough and don’t include bodies like mine.”
Rory added: “I have often had to resort to reading women’s health articles online, just to get some sort of understanding of how my body works. But even then, there’s a lot of guess work. I do not have a female body anymore.”
Respondents also said that new webpages and print leaflet should feature happy, empowered trans people – a departure from how this community is often represented in some parts of the media.
Feedback also showed that around one in five people from these communities feel uncomfortable attending sexual health clinics for a variety of reasons, including misgendering and encountering prejudice, and being given incorrect information for their bodies.
Dr Kate Nambiar, sexual health and gender identity clinician, said: “Good sexual health is vital for everyone but too often trans, non-binary and gender diverse people are left out of mainstream information relating to sexual health and feel uncomfortable accessing mainstream services. As trans people, we need to see ourselves in sexual health campaigns and know that the information is written with us in mind.”
For more information on how you can take care of your sexual health as a trans or non-binary person, click here.
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