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Health officials
begin regulating Tijuana sex workers

Health officials
begin regulating Tijuana sex workers

Male and female sex workers in Tijuana are screened monthly for STDs

Health officials in Tijuana, Mexico, during the past few months have begun enforcing a new law that regulates sex workers in the city and requires them to be screened monthly for sexually transmitted diseases, The New York Times reports. The law applies to both female and male sex workers in Tijuana, which has thousands of prostitutes who cater to both heterosexual and gay male clients. So far, health officials say, the new program has turned up only a handful of STD cases among thousands of tests conducted.

Under the new law, registered sex workers are issued photo IDs with magnetic strips that can be checked with a handheld scanner to prove that they've received negative results on tests for several STDs--including HIV--within the past month. Sex workers who have not been tested or received positive test results are prohibited from working and can be arrested if they attempt to engage in prostitution.

About 5,000 sex workers are screened each month, say health officials, but more than 8,000 prostitutes who originally registered with the city in the summer have stopped seeking monthly testing, say health officials. Authorities aren't sure how many of these men and women simply ceased coming in for their monthly tests, which they must pay for themselves, or stopped working in the sex trade.

So far, the testing program has identified three cases of HIV and fewer than five cases each of syphilis and gonorrhea. (

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