Immigrants No More Likely To Be HIV-Positive Than U.S.-Born Residents, Study Says
Immigrants to the United States are not any more likely to be HIV-positive than people born within the United States, according to a study published in this month's issue of the American Journal of Public Health, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Nina Harawa of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and colleagues examined HIV prevalence among more than 60,000 foreign- and U.S.-born patients who visited sexually transmitted disease clinics in one of seven Los Angeles County public health centers between January 1993 and December 1999. The researchers found that fewer than 2% of the patients in each group was HIV-positive. Further, the fact that most HIV-positive immigrants were at least 21 years old when they arrived in the United States and had been in the country for an average of 12 years before diagnosis suggests that most were infected after arriving in the United States, according to the researchers. Harawa added that in light of that fact, more HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention efforts need to occur in immigrant communities. "Immigrants may be particularly vulnerable to HIV infection because of the economic instability and social isolation that can accompany migration and because they often migrate without their partners," Harawa said. Among the approximately 22,800 foreign-born participants, approximately 90% emigrated from Mexico or Central America, and HIV/AIDS was most prevalent among immigrants from North Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and the West Indies and least prevalent among East Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants (Huggins, Reuters Health, 12/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.