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HIV/AIDS rates in Tijuana, Mexico increasing at alarming rate

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine indicates that the rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Tijuana, Mexico is increasing, and much higher than had been previously estimated. The findings are based on data compiled by a team of researchers working in San Diego and Mexico to create a population-based model in order to estimate HIV infection rates.

The number of men and women aged 15 to 49 years who are infected with HIV may be as high as one in 125 persons, according to Kimberly C. Brouwer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in UCSD's Division of International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Brouwer's study will be published in the March 1 issue of The Journal of Urban Health, a bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Located directly south of San Diego California, Tijuana is a city of 1.2 million people located amidst the busiest land border crossing in the world. Data in this study suggest that Tijuana's HIV infection rate may be close to three times higher than Mexico's national average. The United Nations AIDS Program considers an HIV epidemic to advance from a low level to a concentrated epidemic when more than 1% of the population is infected ?a figure that Tijuana may soon approach if preventive steps aren't taken, according to researchers.

"Intervention and prevention on both sides of the border are urgently needed, because of the high mobility between Tijuana and San Diego County," said Brouwer, adding that high-risk groups ?men who have sex with men, injection drugs users, sex workers and pregnant women ?are of particular concern.

The aim of the UCSD study, conducted along with collaborators in Mexico, was to estimate the number of men and women in Tijuana, aged 15 to 49 years, infected with HIV. This is the age group assumed to be at the highest risk of contracting the HIV infection. The bi-national team of researcher
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Source:University of California - San Diego


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