Article Text

other Versions

Associations between migrant status and sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in Tijuana, Mexico
  1. Victoria D Ojeda (vojeda{at}
  1. School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, United States
    1. Steffanie A Strathdee (sstrathdee{at}
    1. School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, United States
      1. Remedios Lozada
      1. Patronado Pro-COMUSIDA A.C., Tijuana, Mexico
        1. Melanie L A Rusch
        1. School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, United States
          1. Miguel Fraga
          1. Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico
            1. Prisci Orozovich
            1. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Diego, United States
              1. Carlos Magis-Rodriguez
              1. Centro Nacional para la Prevención y el Control del VIH/SIDA, Mexico
                1. Adela de La Torre
                1. Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Davis, United States
                  1. Hortensia Amaro
                  1. Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, United States
                    1. Wayne Cornelius
                    1. Department of Political Science, University of California – San Diego, United States
                      1. Thomas L Patterson (tpatterson{at}
                      1. School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, United States


                        Objective: To examine associations between migration and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevalence among Mexican female sex workers (FSWs).

                        Methods: FSWs aged ≥18 years in Tijuana, Baja California (BC) underwent interviews and testing for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Multivariate logistic regressions identified correlates of STIs.

                        Results: Of 471 FSWs, 79% were migrants to BC. Among migrant FSWs, prevalence of HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and any STI was 6.6%, 13.2%, 7.8%, 16.3%, and 43.0% vs. 10.9%, 18.2%, 13.0%, 19.0%, and 58.4% among FSWs born in BC. A greater proportion of migrant FSWs were registered with local health services and were ever tested for HIV. Migrant status was protective for any STI in unadjusted models (Unadj. OR: 0.61, 95%CI: 0.39, 0.97). In multivariate models controlling for confounders, migrant status was not associated with an elevated odds of STI acquisition and trended towards a protective association.

                        Conclusions: Unexpectedly, migrant status (vs. native-born status) appeared protective for any STI acquisition. It is unclear which social or economic conditions may protect against STIs and whether these erode over time in migrants. Additional research is needed to inform our understanding of whether or how geography, variations in health capital, or social network composition and information sharing attributes can contribute to health protective behaviors in migrant FSWs. By capitalizing on such mechanisms, efforts to preserve protective health behaviors in migrant FSWs will help control STIs in the population and may lead to the identification of strategies that are generalizable to other FSWs.

                        Statistics from

                        Request permissions

                        If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

                        Linked Articles

                        • Whistletop tour
                          Jackie A Cassell