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African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine

On-line version ISSN 2071-2936
Print version ISSN 2071-2928

Abstract

LUVUNO, Zamasomi P. B.; NCAMA, Busisiwe  and  MCHUNU, Gugu. Transgender population's experiences with regard to accessing reproductive health care in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: A qualitative study. Afr. j. prim. health care fam. med. (Online) [online]. 2019, vol.11, n.1, pp.1-9. ISSN 2071-2936.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.1933.

BACKGROUND: The transgender population has unique health risks, including increased risk of mental illness, substance abuse, suicide and a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Worldwide studies indicate that this population is marginalised and faces barriers in accessing health care. In South Africa, there is limited information and research on the transgender population's interaction with health services AIM: The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of the transgender population in accessing health care facilities for sexual and reproductive needs SETTING: The study took place in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa METHODS: A qualitative study combining phenomenological and critical ethnographic approaches was conducted to explore the experiences of the transgender population in the health care setting. Critical ethnography was chosen because it is an emancipatory method that highlights the plight of disenfranchised groups, and phenomenology was used to illuminate experiences of the transgender population. Purposive snowball sampling was applied to select nine transgender participants who had experiences of contact with a health care setting. Data collection was performed through semi-structured interviews and a focus group discussion RESULTS: Participants provided details about the paucity of facilities, resources and targeted programmes to cater for the transgender populations' sexual and reproductive health needs. The participants engage in high-risk behaviour, comprising unprotected sex and use of cross-gender hormones without medical supervision. Furthermore, the participants reported experiences of hostile and discriminatory behaviour by healthcare workers CONCLUSION: It emerged that there is a paucity of resources and knowledge to provide appropriate health care services to the transgender population, resulting in adverse experiences. Policies on transgender care and training of health workers will contribute towards improvement of health care access for the transgender population

Keywords : transgender population; transgender health; transgender; HIV; transphobia; health care access; health care accessibility.

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