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Lancet: World's Transgenders Do Not Receive Adequate Health Care

A South Korean marine takes part in a regular drill on Yeonpyeong Island.

A report Friday in the Lancet medical journal says the world's 25 million transgender people - a population facing a 60 percent rate of depression, and who have an almost 50 times greater risk of the HIV virus than the general population - are not receiving adequate medical health care.

"Many of the health challenges faced by transgender people are exacerbated by laws and policies that deny them gender recognition," says Sam Winter of Australia's Curtin University and one of the authors of the study. "In no other community is the link between rights and health so clearly visible as in the transgender community."

In Europe, eight countries do not legally recognize transgender people, while 17 European countries sterilize people seeking gender recognition.

Authors of the study are urging the World Health Organization to move the transgender diagnosis from its manual as a "mental and behavioral disorder" to a chapter on "conditions related to sexual health."

They are also calling for physicians to receive training about the health care needs of the transgender community whose health concerns include and extend beyond feminizing and masculinizing hormones.

Since 2008, there have been 2,115 documented killings of transgender people around the world, but that number is probably higher as many murders were likely not reported, the study's authors say.