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Medical News

HIV/STI Risk Behaviors Among Latino Migrant Workers in New Orleans Post-Hurricane Katrina Disaster

November 6, 2008

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans experienced a rapid influx of Latino migrant workers. Many of these men came to the area without their primary sex partner, potentially putting them at high risk for acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The current study was designed to assess the HIV/STI sexual risk behaviors of these workers.

The researchers administered an anonymous, structured interview in Spanish in a mobile unit to a venue-based sample of Latinos. Nucleic acid amplification was used to test urine samples for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhea (GC).

Taking part were 180 men with a mean age of 33 years (range, 18 to 79). Most (93.9 percent) did not speak or write English very well; 91.2 percent were undocumented; 63.5 percent were married; 67.4 percent had children; 6.1 percent were living with a spouse; 4.9 percent were living with children; 49.7 percent came from Honduras; 25.4 percent were from Mexico; 61.9 percent came to New Orleans from another US state. In the previous week, 75.5 percent drank alcohol, of which 68.7 percent engaged in binge drinking. At least once in the previous week, 16.6 percent had used marijuana and 5.5 percent had used cocaine. No men reported injection drug use.

Ten percent of the men self-reported a history of HIV. No one tested positive for GC; five (2.8 percent) tested positive for CT. Sex with high-risk partners in the past month was reported by 68.9 percent; 30 percent were in a potential bridge position; 50 percent reported inconsistent condom use; 30.6 percent reported no condom use during the most recent sexual encounter; and 21.2 percent were abstinent. Since their arrival, 9.4 percent had left New Orleans and returned.

"Latino migrant workers in New Orleans reported risky sexual behaviors and low condom use within a potential bridge position," the authors concluded. "Although a low prevalence of CT and GC was found, there was a high percent of self-reported HIV infection. The cultural and contextual factors that place these migrant workers and their sex partner(s) at risk for HIV/STI need further investigation."

Back to other news for November 2008

Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
11.2008; Vol. 35; No. 11: P. 924-929; Patricia Kissinger, Ph.D.; Nicole Liddon, Ph.D.; Norine Schmidt, M.P.H.; Erin Curtin, M.P.H.; Oscar Salinas, M.D.; Alfredo Narvaez, B.S.

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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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