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Inglés: “sin barreras” will kill you

1 December 2007

Speaking English is not the same thing as safe sex. And no, gays are not the only people who need to think about AIDS — If you’re a visitor to Boys’ Town remember this:


Female prostitutes in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez who catered to American “johns” had a 50 percent higher rate of syphilis or another sexually transmitted disease than those who didn’t, according to a UCSD study.

The women paid by American customers were younger and more likely to speak English than their counterparts, and they were more apt to inject drugs and have unprotected sex, said Steffanie Strathdee, chief of the international health division at the University of California San Diego. She wrote the report, which appears in the current edition of the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

A lot of (customers) who go to Mexico to have sex may be lulled into a false sense of complacency,” Strathdee said. “They think that if the woman speaks English and looks OK and clean, she is safe. But these are highly vulnerable women. They are being bribed to have unprotected sex.”

The prostitutes with U.S. clients typically received $30 for unprotected sex versus $20 for sex with a condom, she found.

The economic incentive may explain why prostitutes with U.S. clients had higher rates of gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and chlamydia than women who did not engage in sex for pay with Americans.


Health experts had long assumed that STD infection rates in Mexican border towns were relatively low based on a few outdated surveys, Strathdee said.

Her project found a significant increase in the number of prostitutes infected with HIV – 6 percent in 2005, up from 2 percent 10 years ago. A further analysis of HIV prevalence among Mexican prostitutes who injected drugs found that 12 percent had tested positive for HIV.

The researchers’ other findings include:

Of the prostitutes who catered to Americans, 8 percent tested positive for gonorrhea, 14 percent for chlamydia, 7 percent for HIV and 16 percent for syphilis.

Of the prostitutes who didn’t have sex with Americans, 2 percent tested positive for gonorrhea, 10 percent for chlamydia, 5 percent for HIV and 10 percent for syphilis.

Sixteen percent of Mexican prostitutes who serviced U.S. clients had injected drugs in the past month, compared with 5 percent for those without U.S. customers.

Eighteen percent of the prostitutes with U.S. clients always or often used drugs before or during sex, compared with 7 percent of the prostitutes without U.S. customers.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). By killing or damaging cells of the body’s immune system, HIV progressively destroys the body’s ability to fight infections and certain cancers.

If you still think “it can’t happen”, get the facts.

Over one million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS today. Worldwide, the figure is over 40 million. If you don’t know Spanish, at least learn one phrase:


(OO-sah un conDON).


One Comment leave one →
  1. oneil permalink
    2 October 2008 8:44 am

    Please send me your email address, not sure why you only have a comment section and no contact info. I wanted to discuss with you my experience as a gay man interacting with guys in Mazatlan and the ignorance STD’s.

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