Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Are migrants to blame for rising HIV cases in Mexico?

An article originally published today in the New York Times brought up the possibility that migrants returning from the U.S. are causing a spike in HIV/AIDS cases in Mexico. The article by Mark Lacey cites several recent studies that have said that:

“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, a problem that is compounded by their husbands’ refusal to use condoms.

Research has shown that migrants have more sexual partners than those who stay at home…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.”

One of the studies cited in the article was from 2006 that concluded that a health crisis could emerge in the border town of Tijuana. Another report (which was not explicitly mentioned by Lacey) said that the increase in travel between both countries could cause an increase in HIV/AIDS cases in Mexico.

Keep in mind that blaming migrants for the rise in HIV/AIDS in Mexico has not been a recent phenomenon; take this Los Angeles Times article from 2000:

“Once a stranger in many parts of rural Mexico, HIV has infected between 4,300 and 16,000 villagers, and the number is rising rapidly. Mexican health officials believe that at least 30% of those infected got the disease in the United States--then spread it to many others back in the Mexican countryside.

Away from their families, immigrants get infected when they experiment with hard drugs or have sex with prostitutes or multiple partners. “

Sources- International Herald Tribune, SignOnSanDiego.com, National Library of Medicine, Aegis

Image- University of Toronto

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was such a great post it made my "top 5" today.