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Switch On Your HIV Smarts.

TransLine Transgender Health Consultation Service

, by Reilly O'Neal

For transgender people—individuals whose gender identity doesn’t match the sex they were assigned at birth and/or the gender expressions associated with that sex—accessing medical care can be a tremendous challenge.

Discrimination and stigma set up transgender people for unstable employment, lack of medical insurance, and insensitive and/or inadequate treatment from medical professionals and clinic staff (among other inequities). Surveys around the globe have also found that HIV disproportionately affects transgender people.

A new online resource aims to improve health care for transgender folks and strengthen relationships with their providers. San Francisco’s Project HEALTH, a collaboration between Lyon-Martin Health Services and the Transgender Law Center, recently launched TransLine, a new service for health care providers seeking to improve care for their transgender clients.

TransLine is an online medical consultation service offering both transgender wellness information and individual case consultation on clinical issues relevant to transgender health. Medical providers from LGBT clinics around the nation staff the service and respond to information requests within two business days.

Need answers more quickly? Check the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the TransLine home page and see if yours is on the list. The FAQ covers a broad range of topics, including protocols for transgender medicine and fundamentals of respectful care, medications most commonly used during male-to-female or female-to-male transition, and resources for changing the sex listed sex on birth certificates and passports (both of which typically require a letter from a health care provider).

“While the service has been designed for providers, this may also be an effective self-advocacy tool,” writes Christina Miller on the LGBT health blog at EverybodysGood.com. Miller suggests transgender-identified people may be able to increase the quality of their own health care by referring their medical providers to TransLine. (Read Miller’s full post here.)

Visit TransLine here to request information and find resources for transgender health and wellness. To learn more about HIV in transgender communities and find further resources for transgender health and rights, click here for data from the AIDS 2012 conference and here for an excellent, in-depth article from the BETA archive.

Reilly O’Neal is a freelance writer and former editor of BETA.

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