HIV is a significant problem along the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico, which stretches from California to Texas. This region's HIV epidemic is made more complex by many factors, including Latino cultural norms regarding sexuality, the rural nature of the border resulting in geographic isolation and poverty, and the lack of access to culturally sensitive, high-quality health care. The challenge of reaching and providing care to individuals infected and affected by HIV is compounded by these social, economic, political, and cultural factors. For example, many individuals cross back and forth over the border for seasonal work, making it difficult to identify people who are at high risk for HIV. Bringing people into testing is a critical component of HIV outreach because many people living with HIV along the border do not know their HIV status.
This Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) initiative sought to develop models of community-based health care networks to effectively reduce barriers to early identification of HIV and assure entry to high-quality primary health care for individuals who live and/or work in the U.S. region of the U.S./Mexico border area. The target populations included people at high risk for HIV and people with HIV who live and/or work along the U.S. side of the U.S./Mexico border. The University of Oklahoma served as the Evaluation Center for the initiative.
Demonstration project grant recipients included: Camino de Vida Center for HIV Services (Las Cruces, NM); Centro de Salud Familiar La Fé (El Paso, TX); El Rio Santa Cruz Community Health Center (Tucson, AZ); San Ysidro Health Center (San Ysidro, CA); and Valley AIDS Council (Harlingen, TX).