Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mexican Migrants Carry H.I.V. Home - New York Times

re: Marc Lacey article: "...As sweeping proposals for immigration-law changes founder in the United States, the expanding AIDS crisis among the migrants is largely overlooked on both sides of the border. Particularly in Mexico, AIDS is still shrouded by stigma and denial. In the United States, it is often assumed that immigrants bring diseases into the country, not take them away. /But AIDS is spreading quickly in rural Mexican states with the highest migration rates to the United States, researchers say. The greatest risk of contracting AIDS that rural Mexican women face is in having sex with their migrant husbands, a new study found...Research has shown that migrants have more sexual partners than those who stay at home. For women, life on the road brings risks of rape and sexual abuse. For many migrants, being displaced from their homes and families is a lonely experience, one that prompts them to form new relationships in the United States. /Adding to the problem, both Mexico’s northern and southern borders have become magnets for prostitutes and drug dealers, drawn by the flow of migrants north...AIDS has not yet exploded in Mexico and is focused mostly among prostitutes and their clients, and drug users and gay men, experts say. The AIDS rate here is still considerably lower than that in the United States, nearly half as low, according to United Nations statistics published in 2006. The H.I.V. infection rate for people ages 15 to 49 in the United States is about 0.6 percent, compared with 0.3 percent in Mexico, the United Nations says. /Yet the high-risk behavior that various surveys have documented among many Mexican migrants worries researchers. “Our concern is it could take off in this population in the future,” said Dr. Lemp, who is leading a joint United States-Mexican study of migrants and AIDS. /The first AIDS cases diagnosed in Mexico in 1983 were found among migrants, researchers say. Since then, studies have continued to show that migrants to the United States make up a significant percentage of those contracting the disease..."...

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