Access to HIV Prevention and Care Among Rural Latino Immigrants in California

Principal Investigator: Rita Melendez, PhD

In Collaboration With:

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas

Universidad Pedagógica Nacional

Study Objective:

We will analyze three rural areas of California to assess access to HIV prevention and care among Mexican immigrants. We will assess the ability of rural immigrants to receive HIV-testing and counseling, PrEP information and counseling, HIV care and support or mental health services. Because Mexican immigrants often seroconvert in the US and many return to Mexico and transmit HIV to their partners, the promotion of HIV care and PrEP in particular can lead to decreased HIV transmission in both the US and Mexico.

What We Will Do:

An international and multi-disciplinary perspective will guide our study. Within the rural areas of Fresno, Monterey, and San Diego we will:

  1. Analyze available services using GIS methodology,
  2. Conduct interviews with 15 to 30 health practitioners, and
  3. Conduct 30 to 45 interviews with Mexican immigrant clients of services.

Phase 1 will provide an overview of services which will form a comprehensive database and which will form the basis for Phase 2 (interviews with both health practitioners and clients).  In Phase 2, we will travel to the counties and assess the practitioners’ knowledge and promotion of HIV testing, PrEP, and the impact of the Affordable Care Act in health clinics, the status of Ryan White and State funding. We will likewise interview clients in each county with regard to their experiences seeking care, knowledge and experiences with HIV-testing/counseling and PrEP as well as their need and use of psycho-social support and/or mental health services if they are HIV-positive. The inter-disciplinary, comprehensive approach to assessing rural health care for Latino immigrants will provide valuable information with regard to policy and governmental spending in rural communities with regard to HIV.


This study is being funded by La Programa de Investigacíon en Migracion y Salud (PIMSA).