Principal Investigator: Héctor Carrillo

Social Context and HIV Risk among Mexican Gay and Bisexual Immigrant Men

Study Information

Trayectos is a Spanish word that means “trajectory” or “path”. Through his work with Latino communities, both U.S.-born and Mexican-born immigrants, Dr. Héctor Carrillo, is bringing to light a new, more encompassing discourse of HIV risk and prevention.

This study examines the “social context and HIV risk among Mexican gay immigrants”. Theoretically, the study focuses on the phenomenon that Dr. Carrillo and other scholars have labeled “sexual migration,” the international relocation of people who are driven to move, in whole or in part, by issues of sexuality. Sexual motivations range from the desire to find sexual or romantic partnerships or the exploration of sexual identity to the need to leave behind oppressive and discriminatory situations in the country of origin.

The Trayectos Team

The Trayectos team has included staff, students, and faculty from CRGS, University of California, San Francisco, University of California, San Diego, and the University of Texas, Austin. Team members interviewed 150 gay and bisexual men in San Diego. The participants were Mexican-born immigrants, U.S.-born Latinos, and immigrants’ U.S.-born sexual/romantic partners (of any race or ethnicity).

What have been discovered so far?

Dr. Carrillo and his team found that, upon entering gay contexts in the United States, Mexican-born gay immigrant men encounter environments with rules of interaction that are often quite different from the ones that they knew in their home country. They also have access to new social and sexual contexts that may lead them to heightened risk for HIV infection. Their experiences, however, are not all the same, and the kinds of sex and HIV risk that they have in the United States greatly depend on their sexual lives in Mexico prior to migration, as well as how they experienced the process of migrating to the United States and incorporating into gay communities here. In other words, in order to fully understand immigrant gay men’s sexualities and HIV risk in the United States, we must consider their starting points in Mexico and their paths of relocation to the United States. Dr. Carrillo hopes that this and other findings of Trayectos will help HIV educators envision better ways of helping Latino immigrant gay and bisexual men stay protected against HIV.

Find more study finding details in:

Risk Across Borders: Sexual Contacts and HIV Prevention Challenges Among Mexican Gay and Bisexual Immigrant Men

A resource for immigrants, gay men, HIV educators, activists, policy makers, and scholars.

This is the voice of Crispín, a young Mexican man. Knowing that he was gay, Crispín decided to move to San Diego, California. The stories of men like Crispín have mostly escaped the attention of immigration scholars. In the United States, however, these men confront new challenges in terms of HIV risk. This publication brings their concerns to center stage.


The Trayectos Study is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).