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Deportation Linked to More HIV Infection in Male Mexicans

But HIV prevalence higher in female Mexicans overall

THURSDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- The likelihood of HIV infection among injection drug users in Tijuana, Mexico depends on gender and how long they have lived in Tijuana, with a higher prevalence among males deported from the United States, according to the results of a study published online July 29 in PLoS ONE.

Steffanie A. Strathdee, Ph.D., from the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues compared gender-related factors associated with HIV infection in 1,056 injection drug users (158 female, 898 male) in Tijuana, Mexico.

The researchers found that about two-thirds were born outside Tijuana and were in Tijuana for reasons such as deportation from the United States or looking for work or a better life. HIV prevalence was significantly higher in females (10.2 versus 3.5 percent among males). Higher HIV prevalence in females was independently associated with younger age, lifetime syphilis infection, and living in Tijuana for longer periods, the investigators report. Higher HIV prevalence in males was independently associated with active syphilis infection, being arrested for having "track-marks," having more recent injection partners, and living in Tijuana for shorter periods. Deportation from the United States explained the higher prevalence of HIV infection among males living in Tijuana for shorter periods, the report indicates.

"Geographic mobility has a profound influence on Tijuana's evolving HIV epidemic, and its impact is significantly modified by gender," Strathdee and colleagues conclude. "Future studies are needed to elucidate the context of mobility and HIV acquisition in this region, and whether U.S. immigration policies adversely affect HIV risk."

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