Little is known about the HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk behaviors of Hispanic/Latino farmworkers. This study was designed to describe risk factors for HIV and STD infection, explore personal characteristics associated with condom use, and evaluate the feasibility of collecting self-report and biomarker data from farmworkers.
Self-report and biomarker data were collected from a sample of male farmworkers living in 29 camps in North Carolina during the 2008 growing season.
Over half of the 100 male workers, mean age 37.1 (range 19–68) years, reported binge drinking during the past 12 months. Forty percent of those who reported having had sex during the past 3 months indicated that they were under the influence of alcohol. Knowledge of HIV and STD transmission and prevention was low. Among the 25 workers who reported having had sex during the past 3 months, 16 and 2 reported using a condom consistently during vaginal and anal sex, respectively, and nearly 1 out of 6 workers reported paying a woman to have sex. Two workers tested positive for syphilis.
Farmworkers in this sample demonstrated significant HIV and STD risks; however, when exploring potential bivariate associations with consistent condom use no statistically significant associations were identified perhaps due to the small sample size. Because it was feasible to collect self-report and biomarker data related to HIV and STDs from Hispanic/Latino farmworkers, research needed to further explore risks and develop interventions to reduce disease exposure and transmission among this vulnerable population. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:976–983, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.