Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 43–58 | Cite as

Immigration and HIV/AIDS in the New York Metropolitan Area

  • Michele G. ShedlinEmail author
  • Ernest Drucker
  • Carlos U. Decena
  • Susie Hoffman
  • Gauri Bhattacharya
  • Sharlene Beckford
  • Ricardo Barreras
HIV Perspectives After 25 Years


Because the HIV pandemic undergoes continual change in its locations and affected populations, it is crucial to study HIV risk behaviors among mobile and immigrant groups within and across borders. The impact of cross-cultural migrations and the importance of studying that impact in terms of demographic characteristics as well as cultural and environmental factors has not received adequate attention in public health research. This collaborative analysis utilizes data from three studies of immigrant groups in New York to describe and compare these factors that provide the context for risk and prevention of HIVAIDS and other health challenges. Data discussed were obtained utilizing multi-method approaches to identify and describe HIV risks among both new and more established immigrant populations within the urban settings of North America, with NYC as a central focus. Demographic and epidemiological data situate the analysis within the larger contexts of US migration and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in NYC. The authors identify risk and protective factors embedded to varying degrees in immigrants’ multiple cultures and sub-cultures. The three populations studied include: 1) new Hispanic immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Central America; 2) West Indian (Caribbean) immigrants from Jamaica, Trinidad/Tobago and other anglophone Caribbean nations; and 3) South Asian immigrants from India (Indian Americans). The paper seeks differences and commonalities, focusing on the social, attitudinal and behavioral factors that contribute to increased HIV/AIDS vulnerability among these populations. The data presented also identify some of the attitudes and behaviors of individuals and groups, as well as other facilitators and obstacles to transmission for immigrants as they adapt to new environments. Topics addressed include factors affecting HIV/AIDS vulnerability of immigrant groups, goals and expectations, health and mental heath issues, gender role change, sexual risk, alcohol and other drug use, perception of HIV/AIDS risk and implications for prevention.


Immigration Immigrant health HIV/AIDS risk New York City 



The research by Drs. Shedlin and Decena at the National Development & Research Institutes (NDRI) was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (RO1HD42970: Michele Shedlin, PI), with major assistance from local community-based agencies, regional HIV/AIDS networks and committed individuals. Drs. Hoffman and Beckford acknowledge the assistance of Kimberly Bylander and Joanne Mantell in the collection and analysis of the data on West Indian immigrants and the directors and staff who assisted in recruiting at King’s County Hospital Center. Their research was supported by a center grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to the Columbia-Rockefeller Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI42848: Scott Hammer, PI) and by a center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at NY State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University (P30-MH43520: Anke Ehrhardt, PI). Dr. Beckford was supported by a training grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH19139; Behavioral Sciences Research in HIV Infection; Anke.Ehrhardt, PI). Dr. Bhattacharya was supported by the Collaborative HIV Prevention Research in Minority Communities Program, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco (National Institutes of Mental Health Grant 5P50 MH42459). Dr. Bhattacharya thanks Drs. Barbara VanOss Marín and Héctor Carrillo for their comments on analysis of data on Indian immigrants.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele G. Shedlin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ernest Drucker
  • Carlos U. Decena
  • Susie Hoffman
  • Gauri Bhattacharya
  • Sharlene Beckford
  • Ricardo Barreras
  1. 1.University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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