The federal government spent nearly $2.5 million to discover that illegal immigrants who have been deported to Tijuana, Mexico use drugs and solicit prostitutes because of “loneliness” caused by their deportations.
According to a CNS News report, the National Institutes of Health has awarded over $2.44 million to fund researchers who are working on a project called, “Safer Sex Intervention for Male Clients of Female Sex Workers in Tijuana, Mexico.”
Researchers at the University of California-San Diego “did one-hour interviews with 30 men from both the United States and Mexico who patronized prostitutes in Tijuana’s Zona Roja.” They have received “a total of $2,440,150” in grants for a project that is described on the NIG website:
This study proposes to test a brief, one-hour counseling intervention with male clients in Tijuana, Mexico, to reduce their rates of unprotected sex (i.e., sex without a condom) with FSWs [female sex workers] as well as their rates of infection with HIV and STIs,” says the description. “Finding an effective intervention for this population is important given the rising rates of HIV infection in Tijuana (as documented in earlier studies) and the large numbers of people crossing the border in both directions, many of them specifically to purchase sex from FSWs in Tijuana.
According to CNS News, UC-San Diego researchers paid each man they interviewed $20 “to describe and reflect upon their experiences purchasing sex.” They explained their “motivations for seeking commercial sex, their condom use, perceived STI and HIV risk, and narratives on how socio-cultural and structural factors influence sexual and drug using behaviors.”
The researchers “learned that of 134 men who were married or had a partner and who patronized Tijuana prostitutes 55.2 percent had ‘unprotected sex’ with a prostitute and 62.7 percent used drugs while having sex with a prostitute.”
They also found that though they did not specifically target deportees, “almost all of the Mexican-born participants had been deported to Tijuana from the U.S., leading to separation from partners and families who remained al otro lado (‘on the other side’).”
According to CNS, researchers published their research in journals such as Social Science and Medicine, Health Place, and Epidemiology and Prevention from 2011 to 2013.
Some of the responses from the men interviewed included: “Loneliness… immense loneliness. That this city cannot fulfill.”
One researcher, after hearing such responses, asked, “Oh, my goodness. Do you think that being lonely pushed you to find some company in a female sex worker?”
NIH told CNS News that the grant money was a “diversity training supplement to an existing grant” and “designed to prepare behavioral scientists, especially racial/ethnic minorities, to conduct research in the areas of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and crime.”
“NIH research addresses the full spectrum of human health across all populations of Americans. Behavioral research will continue to be an important area of research supported by NIH,” they wrote. “Only by developing effective prevention and treatment strategies for health-injuring behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, unprotected sex, can we reduce the disease burden in the U.S. and thus, enhance health and lengthen life, which is the mission of the NIH.”