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Taking care of the health of the transgender community, which has been neglected for years, “Right Side” Human Rights Defender NGO provided free endocrinologic services and medication to 18 transsexual people for the first time in Armenia in January 2021. Thanks to the mobilized resources, with the consultation of a Ukrainian endocrinologist, the beneficiaries underwent 40 types of mandatory medical examinations, which were carried out in one of the local diagnostic laboratories. The results were summarized by the Ukrainian endocrinologist through a 40-minute individual in-depth online consultation, appropriate treatment or treatment correction was prescribed. The assistance was provided by the generous financial support of the European Union, People in Need, the Helsinki Committee of the Netherlands and AFEW International.
The hormone replacement therapy is a form of hormone therapy in which sex hormones and other hormonal medications are prescribed to transgender or gender non-conforming individuals for the purpose of aligning their secondary sexual characteristics with their gender identity more closely. For transsexuals, hormone replacement therapy usually lasts a lifetime.
Hormonal medications registered in Armenia are sold in the market without doctors prescription, are considered contraceptives, and are not intended to be the main medication for hormone replacement therapy. As a result of the lack of a specialized endocrinologist in the Republic of Armenia, transsexuals are on self-medication. The “Right Side” HRD NGO regularly receives complaints about the deterioration of the health situation of trans people, as these medications have a variety of side effects, and can cause even mental health problems.
“Right Side” HRD NGO has been actively advocating for the need to adopt medical guidelines on gender reassignment surgery and on hormone replacement therapy in Armenia for five years already. The “Right Side” HRD NGO continuously implements programs like this, with the goal of preventing the use of the wrong medications among transsexuals, creating accessible quality health care services, educating transsexuals about hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgeries, and referring to the professionals. The results of screenings have shown that all the transgender people have complications because of the lack of a consistent approach to the health.
Additionally, the RA Ministry of Health has not taken any necessary steps to ensure access to quality professional health care services for trans people up till now. Will the medical interventions related to gender reassignment be included in the soon introduced comprehensive health insurance? This issue also remains unreported.
Feb 15, 2021 Armenia Yerevan