So-called “drug tourism” could also be fueling a brand new HIV outbreak in Tijuana, unabated by the closure of the worldwide border because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — So-called “drug tourism” could also be fueling a brand new HIV outbreak in Tijuana, unabated by the closure of the worldwide border because of the COVID-19 pandemic, UC San Diego Faculty of Drugs researchers introduced Friday on the Convention on Retroviruses and Opportunistic An infection.
Particularly, the researchers discovered that the HIV incidence price amongst individuals who use medicine in Tijuana had risen to an unprecedented 11 per 100 person- years — a statistical time measure that roughly interprets to 11% per yr.
The HIV incidence price for individuals utilizing medicine in San Diego who cross the border to buy medicine was discovered to be decrease, at 2.77 per 100 P-Y, however nonetheless excessive in comparison with the HIV incidence price amongst drug customers who don’t cross the border — for whom the HIV incidence price was zero.
“These rising charges occurred throughout a interval when the U.S.-Mexico border was closed to nonessential journey,” stated Steffanie Strathdee, affiliate dean of International Well being Sciences, referring to the interval between March 2020 and November 2021.
“They’re fueled by undiminished drug tourism — individuals in the US touring to Mexico, usually for prolonged intervals, to purchase and use cheaper, extra accessible medicine,” Strathdee stated. “Clearly, viruses do not require passports to unfold and partitions do not preserve out infectious illness. We have to bolster HIV prevention efforts on each side of the border.”
In response to researchers, HIV incidence in Tijuana had been steady or declining — partially resulting from a multimillion-dollar effort by the International Fund for HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria to help protected want and syringe trade applications within the nation and different public well being measures; however that funding resulted in 2013.
Moreover, some Mexican authorities funding to community-based organizations offering HIV companies to marginalized populations was lowered in 2019.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 diverted extra assets away from HIV prevention and therapy efforts, making an already susceptible inhabitants much more susceptible.
In response to Gudelia Rangel, co-director of this research and researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte and US-Mexico Border Well being Fee, “It is vital to know that public well being points like this are binational in nature. Viruses do not stay in a single place, and we have to work intently with companions on each side of the border to seek out ample assets.”
The researchers stated the findings underscore the urgency of restoring and increasing efforts reminiscent of cellular needle trade applications and higher entry to tailor-made well being companies offering antiviral therapies and pre- publicity prophylaxis, medicines that considerably reduces the possibilities of HIV an infection for individuals at excessive threat.