Migrant Workers Contributing to Spread of HIV Along U.S., Mexico Border, Researchers Say
Some researchers say that activity along the border between the U.S. and Mexico is contributing to the spread of HIV in Mexico, PRI's "The World" reports. The number of HIV cases among Mexican migrant workers remains relatively low but is increasing, according to George Lemp, director of the University of California's AIDS research program. The program has been working with the Mexican government's AIDS agency to study HIV/AIDS among migrant workers in California. Lemp said HIV cases have increased among women in some remote villages whose only risk factor is a male sexual partner who has traveled to the U.S. "There's a tremendous amount of high-risk behavior occurring among migrants," Lemp said, adding that migrant workers often are young men with limited education who might experiment with high-risk sex or injection drugs while in the U.S. According to "The World," high-risk behavior also occurs at "migrant way stations just south" of the U.S. border. Remedios Lozada -- coordinator of HIV programs in Baja California, Mexico -- said, "This is a vulnerable population, and sometimes people think it's a small group -- those using drugs." She added, "But really, as we've seen in other countries where they didn't address the problem immediately, it could spread. And so we have to be careful, and we have to intervene." Lozada and Steffanie Strathdee, an epidemiologist at the University of California-San Diego, are collaborating on education and research projects in Tijuana, Mexico -- one of the world's busiest border crossings where Lozada directs the outreach organization COMUSIDA. The group runs a needle-exchange program and distributes safe-injection kits to injection drug users in area (Lewis, "The World," PRI, 3/22). Audio of the segment is available online. A transcript of the segment also is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.