Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to summarize the latest research regarding HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk among female sex workers (FSWs) along the Mexico–US border. Although Mexico has a low prevalence of HIV overall, HIV prevalence among FSWs in Tijuana is quite high, and even higher among FSWs who inject drugs (FSW-IDUs). Efforts to better understand and curtail the HIV epidemic among FSWs in this region are greatly needed.
Recent findings: A brief HIV/STI risk reduction intervention for FSWs was successful in decreasing HIV/STI sexual risk behavior with clients among FSWs in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. However, the intervention was less effective among FSW-IDUs, and had no effect on FSWs' condom use with their noncommercial partners. Whereas the majority of research thus far has focused on FSWs' individual-level risk factors, comparatively less is known about their clients and noncommercial sexual partners who may heavily influence their behavior, and engage in high-risk behaviors themselves.
Summary: Further studies including FSWs' intimate partners and clients are needed as well as interventions specific to FSW-IDUs. Targeting the most at-risk populations and reducing both sexual and injection-risk behaviors simultaneously may curb the growing HIV epidemic in the Mexico–US border region.