August 8, 2008

Study: Mexican migrants engage in more high-risk sex in U.S.

01:29 PM CDT on Friday, August 8, 2008
By LAURENCE ILIFF / The Dallas Morning News

MEXICO CITY — Mexican workers in the United States generally engage in more high-risk behaviors for the HIV virus than they did before leaving their home country, according to a study presented at the 17th International AIDS conference.

A survey of Mexican agricultural workers and day-laborers in California found that more than 40 percent of the male immigrants surveyed said they had sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol after migrating to the U.S. In Mexico, just 25 percent said they had sex while under the influence.

The number of men who exchanged sex for food, shelter, money or some other item doubled to nearly 3 percent once the men migrated to the U.S. And the percentage of men who had sex with a sex worker was 30 percent after migration, compared with 18 percent before migration.

The study was presented last week by Melissa Sanchez of the California HIV/AIDS Research Program at the University of California.

The survey also found that condom use rose after migration, but still remained at low levels and did not offset the negative trends.

Migrants at especially high risk included those living in the U.S. for more than five years, younger men aged 18-29, and those frequenting “male work sites and bars and clubs where women are infrequently present,” the study concluded.

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