Objectives: To determine sociodemographic and behavioral correlates of HIV infection among male clients of female sex workers (FSWs) in Tijuana.
Methods: Four hundred men aged 18 years or older who had paid or traded for sex with a FSW in Tijuana during the past 4 months were recruited in Tijuana's 'zone of tolerance,' where prostitution is practiced openly under a municipal permit system. Efforts were made to balance the sample between residents of the United States (San Diego County) and of Mexico (Tijuana). Participants underwent interviews and testing for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. Logistic regression identified correlates of HIV infection.
Results: Mean age was 36.6 years. One-quarter had injected drugs within the previous 4 months. Lifetime use of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine was 36, 50, and 64%, respectively. Men had frequented FSWs for an average of 11 years, visiting FSWs an average of 26 times last year. In the past 4 months, one-half reported having unprotected sex with a FSW; 46% reported being high fairly or very often when having sex with a FSW. Prevalence of HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia was 4, 2, 2.5, and 7.5%; 14.2% were positive for at least one infection. Factors independently associated with HIV infection were living in Mexico, ever using methamphetamine, living alone, and testing positive for syphilis.
Conclusion: Male clients of FSWs in Tijuana had a high sex and drug risk profile. Although sexually transmitted infection prevalence was lower than among FSWs, HIV prevalence was comparable suggesting the need for interventions among clients to prevent spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.