Home » Ongoing projects » Study of HIV prevalence and risk behaviors among trans-gender women (male to female) in Tehran.

Study of HIV prevalence and risk behaviors among trans-gender women (male to female) in Tehran.

Transsexuals face violence and engage in high risk sexual behaviors due to factors such as stigma and discrimination toward this group in many countries.As a result, they are considered, by UNAIDS, as one of the groups at high risk for HIV.

Many studies have reported high prevalence of HIV infection and HIV related risk behaviors among transsexuals. Herbst et al in their systemic review of US-based HIV behavioral prevention literature shows an HIV prevalence of 27.7% among MTFs .  Selling sex, not using condom (specially during receptive anal intercourse) and using drugs are common high risk behaviors reported. Similar results been found in unpublished data from a study of 50 transsexuals (FTM and MTF) in Tehran.

There is no study that provides a comprehensive picture of HIV infection in this group. Our study aims to answer questions related to HIV infection and high risk behaviors among Iranian male to female transsexuals.


Cross sectional study will be used to determine HIV prevalence among MTF Trans as a main objective of this study.  Convenience sampling will be used for data gathering.  Inclusion criteria are:

  • Have been diagnosed in “gender identity disorder” by psychiatric committee settled in Tehran Psychiatric Institute.
  • Signing consent form for giving blood sample and also filling the questionnaire.

The participants could be in any stage of gender change for instance before or after doing “Gender Reassignment  Surgery (GRS)”.  Sampling will be continued till reach to 130 male to female (MTF) transsexuals.

Participants agreeing to participate in the study by signing the informed consent form will be asked to fill a questionnaire about their HIV knowledge and attitude, demographic data, history of marriage (temporary and permanent ), family support status, sexual relations (type , using condom, frequency of sex during last one year, one month and last time), history of sex work, drug and alcohol use, history of STDs infections .

Dried blood spots (DBS)  will be collected for blood sampling. ElISA will be used for checking HIV Ag and Ab in the samples.