Today more than million people are living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the United States (CDC, 2016). The once terminal illness, which is the precursor to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), has downgraded to a manageable chronic disease due to the creation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), improved health awareness, and behavioral prevention strategies.
Even though, various preventive interventions have been designed in efforts to prevent and decrease the incidence of HIV infections some populations are at increased vulnerability for contracting HIV. Historically, lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender individuals (LGBT) have been identified as a vulnerable population due to prejudices against this group, discriminatory practices, and social stigma. The vulnerability of these groups become even more disadvantageous when health barriers such as reduced access to healthcare, substance abuse, mental health disorders and lack of health insurance become a factor in utilizing health care. These social determinants coupled with increased health disparities disproportionately places this group at a higher risk of HIV transmission.
According to the Center for Disease and Control (2016), men who have men who have sex with men represent 2% of the United States population but contribute to over 50% of people living with HIV (PLWH). It is estimated that one in six MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime based on the current HIV infection rates (CDC, 2016). Transgendered persons are even more susceptible to HIV infection; they accounted for the highest percentage of newly diagnosed cases in 2013 (CDC, 2016).
Presently, culturally sensitive and competent directed education regarding LGBT persons has been explored as a solution to prevent and decrease HIV transmission rates. The implementation of a culturally and linguistically competent LGBT education and training has the potential to reduce stigma, decrease health disparities and increase social awareness