The University of California’s systemwide AIDS research program has awarded $425,000 to support Entre Fronteras, the Center for Latino HIV/AIDS Research at San Diego State University.
Entre Fronteras is an emerging research center-dedicated to the study of HIV/AIDS among Latino populations along the California-Mexico border, including populations in San Diego and Imperial Counties in California and among migrant populations in the cross-border cities of Mexicali and Tijuana.
“AIDS is an emerging threat to Latino populations along the California-Mexico border,” said Dr. George Lemp, director of UC’s systemwide AIDS research program. “Migrant populations are particularly vulnerable to infections disease transmission, and current conditions are ripe for HIV transmission among migrants in and along the border zone. That’s why innovative AIDS research centers based within these communities, such as Entre Fronteras, are absolutely crucial to stemming the tide of AIDS in California and Mexico.”
Entre Fronteras’ goals include strengthening research in understudied Latino populations by building community partnerships, promoting research training and mentoring opportunities for minority investigators. It also aims to improve participation by underresearched populations in research and prevention activities, and to collaboratively develop specific prioritized research efforts designed to help policymakers, healthcare professionals and others advance the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in Latino populations along the California-Mexico border.
“Entre Fronteras provides the opportunity to extend our early efforts to establish surveillance systems by which we might determine the prevalence of HIV and the prevalence of predictors of HIV among Latino and migrant populations in California and Baja, Mexico,” said Dr. Mel Hovell, the program’s principal investigator and director of SDSU’s Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health. “This is the first coordinated effort with the UARP to advance the epidemiological science to the predictors of HIV/AIDS, setting the stage for possible prevention efforts on both sides of the border. The research conducted to date and to be completed in the next three years should serve as models for federal support of similar studies along the U.S./Mexican border.”
The three-year grant will be funded at about $425,000 annually beginning in January of 2003. The state Legislature and Governor Gray Davis earmarked the money in the UC budget to support strategic AIDS research initiatives affecting thousands of Californians.