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Deportation Tied to Higher HIV Risk for Men Injecting Drugs
Date:7/30/2008

Study in Tijuana points to need for cross-border prevention, treatment programs

WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- The odds of HIV infection increase fourfold for male injection drug users who were deported to Tijuana from the United States compared to non-deportees in the Mexican border city, a new study reports.

The findings, expected to be presented Aug. 5 at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, suggest further investigation is necessary into the risk factors of displacement and the need for programs that offer support to displaced persons on either side of the U.S./Mexico border.

The University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine study was also expected to be published in the July 30 issue of Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

Tijuana, the largest city on the U.S./Mexico border, is on a major route for both migrants headed to the United States and drug trafficking. The largest number of drug users per capita in Mexico live here and an estimated 5,000 female sex workers can be found in the city's busy zona roja (red light zone), the researchers said. All these factors contribute to a growing epidemic of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in Tijuana.

The study compared HIV infection rates among 1,056 injection drug users (IDUs) in Tijuana, 86 percent of whom were male, and assessed potential risk factors that might increase the risk of HIV. While members of each gender had lived in Tijuana for similar periods of time, deportation was the most commonly cited reason for coming to the city among males (57 percent versus 30 percent among females). A greater proportion of men also reporting being homeless (15 percent versus 5 percent) and injecting drugs outside the home (43 percent versus 13 percent).

"Deportation was significantly associated with HIV infection in males," Steffanie A. Strathdee, chief of the division of international health and
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