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HIV/AIDS Among Mexican Migrants and Recent Immigrants in California and Mexico

Hernández, María Teresa MPH*; Lemp, George F DRPH, MPH*; Castañeda, Xóchitl MPH; Sanchez, Melissa A MA*; Aoki, Bart K PHD*; Tapia-Conyer, Roberto MD, MPH, MSC; Drake, Michael V MD*

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: November 1st, 2004 - Volume 37 - Issue - p S203
doi: 10.1097/01.qai.0000141249.31346.26

From the *Office of Health Affairs, University of California, Office of the President, Oakland, CA; †California–Mexico Health Initiative, University of California, Office of the President, Berkeley, CA; and ‡Secretaría de Salud, Mexico City, Mexico.

Received for publication June 2004;

accepted September 2004.

Reprints: Melissa A. Sanchez, Universitywide AIDS Research Program, University of California, Office of the President, 300 Lakeside Drive, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 (e-mail:

This special issue contains original review articles by researchers from the University of California and the Secretariat of Health of Mexico. The articles on epidemiology, prevention, and health care services review available published data and selected unpublished data on Mexican migrants in California specifically and across the United States. These articles identify research and intervention needs and, where available, document effective methods of outreach and interventions with the Mexican migrant population. An article addressing the issue within Mexico outlines the emerging data on the vulnerability of Mexicans migrating to the United States with regard to HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and associated behaviors. Lastly, a concluding article presents an analysis of policies that serve as barriers or facilitators of prevention and care for Mexican migrants in California. All the articles offer compelling evidence for integrating tailored outreach, prevention, and health care services for the Mexican migrant population into the overall health care infrastructure of communities in California and Mexico.

Patterns of transnational movement among Mexican citizens vary widely; therefore, the term migrant extends to all those groups of persons whose residence, work, and social patterns extend across the United States–Mexico border. This population includes individuals at different stages of migration, their families, and individuals who are part of their social and economic networks in California and Mexico. Effective prevention and care strategies for Mexican migrants must focus on these populations as distinct migrant group who contribute economically to the communities where they reside.

The California–Mexico AIDS Initiative was created by the University of California, Office of the President, in collaboration with the Secretariat of Health, Mexico, to address the epidemiology, prevention, health care services, and public policy issues with regard to HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis among Mexican migrant communities in California and within their originating communities in Mexico. This transnational collaboration is based on the premise that Mexican migrants in the United States are particularly vulnerable to infectious disease epidemics such as HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis. The body of data presented in these articles supports this hypothesis and indicates that without intervention, these epidemics may expand more aggressively in the future, representing an emerging threat to Mexican migrants in California, along the California–Mexico border, and within Mexico.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.