Viral hepatitis screening in transgender patients undergoing gender identity hormonal therapy

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Abstract

Background and aim

Viral hepatitis is a global health issue and can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Guidelines for viral hepatitis screening in the transgender population do not exist. Transgender patients may be at higher risk for contracting viral hepatitis due to socioeconomic and behavioral factors. The aim of this study was to measure the quality of screening, prevalence, and susceptibility of viral hepatitis, and to identify barriers to screening in transgender patients undergoing gender identity hormonal therapy.

Methods

LGBTQ-friendly clinic visits from transgender patients older than 18 years in New York City from 2012 to 2015 were reviewed.

Results

Approximately 13% of patients were screened for any viral hepatitis on initial consultation. Screening rates for hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis A virus (HAV) at any point were 27, 22, and 20%. HAV screening was performed in 28% of the female to male (FtM) patients and 16% of male to female (MtF) (P<0.05) patients. HBV screening was performed in 30% of FtM patients and 18% of MtF patients (P<0.05). Thirty-one percent of FtM, 24% of MtF, and 17% of genderqueer patients were tested for HCV (P>0.05). Prevalence of HCV, HBV, and HIV in FtM was 0, 0, and 0.44% and that in MtF was 1.78, 0.89, and 1.78%, respectively. Percentage of patients immune to hepatitis A in FtM and MtF subgroups were 55 and 47% (P>0.05). Percentage of patients immune to HBV in FtM and MtF subgroups were 54 and 48% (P>0.05).

Conclusion

This study indicates a significant lack of hepatitis screening in the transgender population and a concerning proportion of patients susceptible to disease.

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