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New From the AIDS Conference: Mexican Migrants

Mexican migrants to the United States appear to be at increased risk for HIV and more likely to carry the virus back to Mexico, according to research being released Tuesday at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.

A survey of 458 Mexican workers in California found that men separated from their families and community were more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as sex with a prostitute, having sex while under the influence of drugs and having sex with another man.

"For many, the migratory experience included extended periods of time separated from family; poor living conditions in migrant camps, shelters, or shantytowns; constant mobility for the agricultural workers; and extended periods of unemployment," said Melissa Sanchez, an epidemiologist at the University of California's HIV/AIDS Research Program who led the study.

In previous studies, George Lemp, director of the center, found evidence that many migrants return to Mexico after becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS and often unknowingly infect partners at home. There are over 4 million Mexican migrants in California alone.

-- Ceci Connolly

By Frances Stead Sellers  |  August 5, 2008; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  AIDS  
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