Going Viral: Increasing AIDS Resources Across the Border

Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 8/15/2012

Affecting 0.3 percent of the population, HIV is only half as prevalent in Mexico as it is in the United States.(1) However, experts have noted an increase in cases in Mexico following the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.(2) Researchers have linked HIV/AIDS in Mexico to migration since these rates only recently started to rise.(3) In the 1980s and early 1990s, studies showed that between 41 and 79 percent of Mexicans with AIDS had spent time living in the United States. Unfortunately, these statistics have not been updated since 1992, highlighting a lack of attention to this serious issue.(4)

Increased migration from Mexico to the United States has corresponded with a 7.8 percent annual increase in HIV diagnoses along the U.S.-Mexico border.(5) At this rate, in the next 15 to 20 years the number of AIDS cases may overwhelm Mexico’s limited capacity to address them. Both Mexico and the United States, therefore, have a joint responsibility to increase their efforts to combat AIDS. Mexico needs to uphold its promise to treat every AIDS case in the country while, across the border, the United States must expand the health care services it provides for migrant workers, especially AIDS treatment for farm workers.

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