AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 12, pp 3271–3278 | Cite as

HIV Prevalence and Risk Behaviors in Male to Female (MTF) Transgender Persons in Tijuana, Mexico

  • Kristian Jesús Salas-Espinoza
  • Rufino Menchaca-Diaz
  • Thomas L. Patterson
  • Lianne A. Urada
  • Davey Smith
  • Steffanie A. Strathdee
  • Eileen V. Pitpitan
Original Paper


Compared to HIV research on men who have sex with men, less is known about the risks and vulnerabilities for HIV among Male to Female (MTF) transgender persons, particularly in different geographic regions like Mexico. In Tijuana, Mexico, a border city experiencing a dynamic HIV epidemic, no precedent data exists on the MTF transgender population. Our aims were to estimate HIV prevalence and examine the behaviors and characteristics of the population. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 100 MTF transgender persons recruited through time location sampling in 2012. Participants underwent interviewer-administered (paper and pen) surveys and rapid tests for HIV. Descriptive univariate analyses were conducted on various factors, including sociodemographics, substance use, accessing social services (requested vs. received), stigma, and sex behaviors. A total of 22% tested positive for HIV, a prevalence higher than other key populations at risk for HIV in Tijuana.


Transgender Male-to-female HIV prevalence HIV risk behaviors 


Comparado al estudio del VIH de hombres que tienen sexo con hombres (HSH), se sabe menos de los riesgos y vulnerabilidades de VIH entre hombre a mujer (HAM) personas transgeneras, particularmente en diferentes regiones geográficas como México. En Tijuana, México, una ciudad fronteriza que esta pasando por una etapa dinámica de la epidemia del VIH, no existe datos precedentes sobre la HAM populación transgenera. Nuestros objetivos eran estimar la prevalencia del VIH y examinar las características y comportamientos de la populación. Se realizo un estudio transversal de 100 HAM personas transgeneras reclutadas con muestreo por tiempo-lugar en el 2012. Los participantes se sometieron a entrevistas administradas (A papel y pluma) y prueba rápida de VIH. Se realizaron análisis descriptivos univariados sobre diversos factores, incluyendo sociodemográficas, uso se sustancias, accediendo seguros sociales (pedidos vs recibidos), stigma, y comportamiento sexual. Un total de 22% fueron positivos de VIH, una prevalencia más alto que cualquier otra populación en riesgo de VIH en Tijuana.



The authors extend their thanks to the transgender community in Tijuana, as well as to Centro de Servicios SER, A.C where the study took place and providing all the facilities for study procedures for the study data collection and HIV testing. To Gerardo Jara and Katherine Castillo who were the interviewers.


This study was funded by an AIDS International Training in Research Program (AITRP) 1D43TW008633-01, and preparation of this manuscript was supported by NIDA Mentored Career Development Awards to the senior and fourth author (K01DA036447, K01DA036439).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All of the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Research Ethics Committee in Tijuana and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristian Jesús Salas-Espinoza
    • 1
  • Rufino Menchaca-Diaz
    • 1
  • Thomas L. Patterson
    • 2
  • Lianne A. Urada
    • 3
    • 4
  • Davey Smith
    • 3
  • Steffanie A. Strathdee
    • 3
  • Eileen V. Pitpitan
    • 3
  1. 1.Escuela de Medicina y PsicologíaUniversidad Autónoma de Baja CaliforniaTijuanaMexico
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Global Public Health, Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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