“The care is the best you can give at the time”: Health care professionals’ experiences in providing gender affirming care in South Africa
by Sarah Spencer, Talia Meer, Alex MüllerBackground
While the provision of gender affirming care for transgender people in South Africa is considered legal, ethical, and medically sound, and is—theoretically—available in both the South African private and public health sectors, access remains severely limited and unequal within the country. As there are no national policies or guidelines, little is known about how individual health care professionals providing gender affirming care make clinical decisions about eligibility and treatment options.Method
Based on an initial policy review and service mapping, this study employed semi-structured interviews with a snowball sample of twelve health care providers, representing most providers currently providing gender affirming care in South Africa. Data were analysed thematically using NVivo, and are reported following COREQ guidelines.Results
Our findings suggest that, whilst a small minority of health care providers offer gender affirming care, this is almost exclusively on their own initiative and is usually unsupported by wider structures and institutions. The ad hoc, discretionary nature of services means that access to care is dependent on whether a transgender person is fortunate enough to access a sympathetic and knowledgeable health care provider.Conclusion
Accordingly, national, state-sanctioned guidelines for gender affirming care are necessary to increase access, homogenise quality of care, and contribute to equitable provision of gender affirming care in the public and private health systems.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.
Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.