Two Years and Still Going...
It’s been almost two years since the start of this global health crisis. As a community, we’ve experienced great loss but also joy through virtual spaces and solidarity. We look out for each other, we make sure that our loved ones have what they need, encourage folks to take a covid test, and schedule vaccine appointments. We understand how crucial community is for trans people. We also know that unfortunately, the pandemic is not over yet. There are new outbreaks and variants such as Omicron and Delta; they will continue to emerge. We have updated this guide with new information to ensure that trans people and their families can properly face this public health threat. If you have a resource that should be in this guide please recommend them here.
As we said before, we want trans people and their families to stay safe—both from the virus and from any unique problems we may face.
It is important for trans people to be prepared for obstacles if an outbreak happens in their communities. NCTE urges everyone to put together a plan of action that not only takes into account basic health needs but also your specific needs as a trans person.
Trans People and COVID-19
According to several reports, the transgender community has been negatively impacted by the pandemic financially, and while we don’t have enough data to fully understand the health-related impacts of our community, we know that we were greatly impacted by this global health crisis due to the particular risks documented before the pandemic.
Transgender people must be aware of the particular risk for the coronavirus because of the several factors:
- LGBTQ people have higher rates of HIV and cancer, and therefore may have a compromised immune system. According to NCTE’s 2015 US Trans Survey, trans people are five times more likely to be living with HIV compared to the general population.
- LGBTQ people also use tobacco at a rate of 50% higher than the general population. The coronavirus is a respiratory illness that could be especially harmful to smokers.
Trans adults are also more likely to score their health as poor or fair compared to the general population. More than 1 out of 5 transgender adults have at least one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, or asthma. Fear of discrimination keeps many of us from going to the doctor. This may impact the potential novel coronavirus effect on us in three ways:
- Stigma and discrimination make transgender people reluctant to get help.
- Access to health care barriers, such as lack of insurance, leaves us less likely to get medical care.
- Existing health conditions mean more of us live in a state of compromised health.
What's a Variant?
According to the CDC, a variant is a genetic code that contains mutations. Omicron and Delta are variants of COVID-19 and have higher rates of transmission. What’s important to know is that approved vaccines authorized in the US are still effective against these mutations. It's important to get the vaccine if you still haven’t yet, and it's important to receive a booster. To figure out when you should receive a booster please refer to CDC’s recommendations.
- Hormonal replacement therapy: There is no scientific evidence that supports any interaction between the vaccination and your gender-affirming medication. There is also no evidence of vaccinations impacting your hormonal levels. For information, please check out LGBT Foundation’s knowledge on vaccines.
- HIV Medications such as ART: There is no scientific evidence that supports any interactions with HIV medications. For more information on HIV medications and the COVID vaccines please click here. In addition, check out the British HIV Association update on COVID treatments for people with HIV.
Other Educational Resources: