Health & HIV | National Center for Transgender Equality

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Health & HIV

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Like anyone, transgender people need preventive care to stay healthy and acute care when they become sick or injured. Some may also need medical care to treat gender dysphoria. Transgender people’s health care is both widely stigmatized and misunderstood. Those unfamiliar with the health needs of transgender people might portray transition-related care as “cosmetic” or a choice. The fact is that the medical necessity of transition-related care is overwhelmingly recognized by medical experts as effective and necessary for many transgender people.

Major medical groups like the American Medical Assocation, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have detailed guidelines for providers working with youth and adults who are transgender, and those same groups oppose any discrimination against trans patients, including restrictions on the care or coverage a transgender person can receive. A hospital that refuses to treat a transgender person or an insurer who denies coverage because they are transgender is violating the law. For more, read our Know Your Rights page.

Despite the protections of the Affordable Care Act and other laws that prohibit discrimination, transgender people continue to encounter barriers to care. Transgender people face significant job loss and job fragility and, therefore, a higher rate of uninsurance. While the majority of public and private insurance plans still have removed exclusions that blatantly target transgender people, many plans continue to deny coverage for medically necessary care. Even when transgender people have access to comprehensive coverage, discrimination is still prevalent in many health care settings, and contributes to health disparities when compared to the general US population, including higher levels of HIV infection and suicidality. Discrimination is particularly dangerous in emergency situations, and in rural areas with few alternatives if one provider refuses to treat someone because they are transgender.

NCTE works with federal, state and local agencies and advocates to ensure that regulations, policies and laws are passed and implemented, which ensure that transgender people have access to quality health care

Resources

From the Blog

June 19, 2021

Department of Veterans Affairs Begins Work to Expand Access to Health Care to Transgender Veterans

The US Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that it will begin the process to expand health care services available to transgender veterans to include gender confirmation surgery.

May 14, 2021

Health Care Providers Urge The National Governors Association to Oppose Anti-Transgender Youth Medical Bans

More than 1,600 medical, mental and behavioral health providers across the country have signed an open letter to the National Governors Association in opposition to the introduction of the more tha

Get Involved

May 24, 2019

Protect Trans Health!

The Trump administration is trying to say discrimination against transgender people in health care is legal. While they can’t change the law, this new regulation would confuse patients, providers, and insurers, and make it much harder for many transgender people to access life-saving care.

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