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Tijuana AIDS crisis threatens U.S.

TIJUANA, Mexico, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Tijuana is a chaotic Mexican border city of 1.5 million people and seen as a direct threat to the United States through its AIDS crisis, officials say.

When Mexican President Felipe Calderon opens the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City on Sunday, he can boast that his country has one of the lowest HIV rates in the Americas.

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But, he can't include Tijuana, one of the busiest border crossings in the world, in that category, The Washington Post said.

Tijuana, located 20 miles south of San Diego, has an HIV infection rate that's nearly triple the national average and it has been rising steadily for more than a decade.

About one in 125 adults in the city is infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

And as a border city, serving as a funnel for workers and goods in both countries, Tijuana's AIDS crisis poses a direct threat to the United States, the Post said.

A survey by university researchers found that 64 percent of 116 HIV-positive Tijuana residents entered the United States at least once a month.

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Nearly half of men having sex with men in Tijuana and 75 percent of those in San Diego reported having partners across the border. And of 1,000 prostitutes interviewed in Tijuana, more than half work both sides of the border.

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