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U.S. News

California: Solicitation Just Part of Day Laborers' Lives

July 6, 2006

The practice of men hiring undocumented immigrant laborers for sex has some local health experts stressing the need to educate the workers about HIV/AIDS, which is spreading rapidly among Los Angeles Latinos.

For the past three years, prevention workers have distributed safe sex booklets to day laborers at Kester and Oxnard streets in Van Nuys. The location is one of several where hundreds of day laborers congregate in the morning for work. On a Web site for gay and bisexual men in search of sex, the street corner is listed among potential sites.

Young, alone, and poor, many day laborers are targeted for sex work -- especially once they've passed the morning without securing other work, said Dr. Frank Galvan, assistant professor at Los Angeles' Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

In Galvan's survey of 450 day laborers looking for day jobs at sites listed on the Web site, five Los Angeles venues and one in San Fernando Valley, 38 percent reported being solicited for sex, and 10 percent accepted the offer. The majority reported not using condoms. The men were six times more likely to accept sex work if they were drug-dependent and seven times more likely to accept if they had been day laborers for five or more years. Of those who accepted the offer of sex work, 86 percent denied being gay. The same percentage said they accepted the offer because they had not worked that day. Only one of the 450 laborers tested positive for HIV.

In Los Angeles County, health experts estimate that 48 percent of all AIDS cases are Latinos, chiefly men who have sex with men. The county saw a 40 percent rise in syphilis in 2005, and 42 percent of these cases were Latinos.

Back to other news for July 6, 2006

Adapted from:
Daily News of Los Angeles
07.02.06; Susan Abram

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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