Transitioning and the Call to Love
If you search for “transition” on Google, it actually gives a specific definition for gender transition: to “adopt permanently the outward or physical characteristics of the gender one identifies with, as opposed to those associated with one’s birth sex.” It’s an incomplete definition, of course: it’s not just outward characteristics that change. Neither are they always the most important changes which that assume such changes happen at all: being transgender doesn’t always mean having extreme discomfort with the body you’re born with, as we’ll talk about later. But transitioning, in whatever form it takes, does mean a change that radically alters an individual. Many transgender people, very appropriately, refer to this as a “journey”.
A Trans Woman’s Risk
The HIV and AIDS epidemic has long been attached to the LGBTQI+ community since the early 1980’s. As of December 2017, the HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines has reported that 87% of sexually transmitted cases of HIV are men having sex with men (MSM).
Globally, there is limited data on the prevalence of HIV infection among transgender people as most epidemiological surveillance systems only ask for a person’s sex at birth, making transgender women fall under the MSM category. A meta-analysis by Baral and colleagues in 2013  revealed that the average HIV prevalence among trans women in several North American, Latin American, European, and Asian countries was 19.1%, significantly higher than the general population. Other studies, found that transgender persons have higher risk of HIV infection than MSM.