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J Immigr Minor Health. 2009 Feb;11(1):1-6. doi: 10.1007/s10903-008-9119-5. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

Deportation along the U.S.-Mexico border: its relation to drug use patterns and accessing care.

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Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0622, La Jolla, CA 93093-0622, USA.


Since migration has been linked to new drug trends and risky behaviors, and deported individuals face unique economic and social stressors, we investigated behaviors of injection drug users (IDUs) from Tijuana, Mexico in relation to deportation history. In 2005, IDUs > or =18 years old who injected within the prior month were recruited by respondent-driven sampling, administered a questionnaire, and underwent antibody testing for HIV, HCV, and syphilis. Logistic regression compared IDUs who reported coming to Tijuana due to deportation from the U.S. versus others in the study. Of 219 participants, 16% were deportees. Prevalence of HIV, HCV and syphilis was 3, 95 and 13%, respectively. Deportees had lived in Tijuana for a shorter time (median: 2 vs. 16 years), were more likely to inject multiple times/day (OR: 5.52; 95%CI: 1.62-18.8), but less likely to have smoked/inhaled methamphetamine (OR: 0.17; 95%CI: 0.17-0.86). Deportation history was inversely associated with receiving drug treatment (OR: 0.41; 95%CI: 0.19-0.89), recent medical care (OR: 0.37; 95%CI: 0.13-1.00), or HIV testing (OR: 0.44; 95%CI: 0.19-1.02). Deportees had different drug use patterns and less interaction with public health services than other study participants. Our study is an indication that migration history might relate to current risk behaviors and access to health care. More in-depth studies to determine factors driving such behaviors are needed.

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