African-American HIV-positive transgender women are frequently unaware that they are living with the virus and, as a whole, have a concerningly low viral suppression rate, aidsmap reports.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers surveyed participants of Black Pride events at six U.S. cities between 2014 and 2017. They conducted a sub-analysis of 422 transgender female respondents, all of whom were African American and had sex with men.

The women, who had an average age of 30 years old, often experienced notable social stressors, including: difficultly accessing health care, incarceration, homelessness, sex work and limited schooling.

A total of 190 (45 percent) of the women tested positive for HIV during the study’s routine screening;78 of them (41 percent) were already aware of their status. Of the women who already knew their HIV status, 75 (96 percent) had been linked to medical care for the virus; of that group, 72 (96 percent) were retained in care. Of those retained in care, 65 (90 percent) were on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment; of that group, 45 (69 percent) had a fully suppressed viral load.

In other words, of all the HIV-positive transgender women, just 24 percent had an undetectable viral load. By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2014, close to half of all those living with HIV in the United States were virally suppressed, a figure that by 2017—the end of this new study’s survey period—was almost certainly higher.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.