Transgendered people are at risk for HIV/AIDS as well as a number of other serious problems, including discrimination and violent attack. Marsha P.Johnson, a prominent transgender activist in New York throughout the 1970s and 1980s, was discovered murdered in the early 1990s.
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HIV infection. Because health care is expensive and can be difficult to secure, many transgendered people may obtain illegally the hormones they rely on to induce and maintain anatomic characteristics such as breasts or facial hair. The practice of sharing needles to inject hormones, called “moning,” carries a very high risk of spreading HIV disease. Those seeking sex reassignment surgery may patronize underground medical providers whose use of unsterile instruments and unprofessional techniques could render the genital area vulnerable to continuing infections and trauma during sexual intercourse, compounding the subsequent risk of HIV infection.