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1.  Improving the Understanding of the Link between Cognition and Functional Capacity in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder 
Schizophrenia research  2015;169(0):121-127.
Deficits in cognitive functioning are related to functional disability in people with serious mental illness. Measures of functional capacity are commonly used as a proxy for functional disabilities for cognitive remediation programs, and robust linear relationships between functional capacity and cognitive deficits are frequently observed. This study aimed to determine whether a curvilinear relationship better approximates the association between cognitive functioning and functional capacity.
Two independent samples were studied. Study 1: Participants with schizophrenia (n=435) and bipolar disorder (n=390) aged 18–83 completed a neuropsychological battery and a performance-based measure of functional capacity. Study 2: 205 participants with schizophrenia (age range=39–72) completed a brief neuropsychological screening battery and a performance-based measure of functional capacity. For both studies, linear and quadratic curve estimations were conducted with cognitive performance predicting functional capacity scores.
Significant linear and quadratic trends were observed for both studies. Study 1: In both the schizophrenia and bipolar participants, when cognitive composite z-scores were >0 (indicating normal to above normal performance), cognition was not related to functional capacity. Study 2: When neuropsychological screening battery z-scores were >−1 (indicating low average to average performance), cognition was not related to functional capacity.
These results illustrate that in cognitively normal adults with serious mental illness, the relationship between cognitive function and functional capacity is relatively weak. These findings may aid clinicians and researchers determine who may optimally benefit from cognitive remediation programs, with greater benefits possibly being achieved for individuals with cognitive deficits relative to individuals with normal cognition.
PMCID: PMC4681671  PMID: 26427917
2.  Self Assessment in Schizophrenia: Accuracy of Evaluation of Cognition and Everyday Functioning 
Neuropsychology  2015;29(5):675-682.
Self-assessment deficits, often referred to as impaired insight or unawareness of illness, are well established in people with schizophrenia. There are multiple levels of awareness, including awareness of symptoms, functional deficits, cognitive impairments, and the ability to monitor cognitive and functional performance in an ongoing manner. The present study aimed to evaluate the comparative predictive value of each aspect of awareness on the levels of everyday functioning in people with schizophrenia.
We examined multiple aspects of self-assessment of functioning in 214 people with schizophrenia. We also collected information on everyday functioning rated by high contact clinicians and examined the importance of self-assessment for the prediction of real world functional outcomes. The relative impact of performance based measures of cognition, functional capacity, and metacognitive performance on everyday functioning was also examined.
Misestimation of ability emerged as the strongest predictor of real world functioning and exceeded the influences of cognitive performance, functional capacity performance, and performance-based assessment of metacognitive monitoring. The relative contribution of the factors other than self-assessment varied according to which domain of everyday functioning was being examined, but in all cases, accounted for less predictive variance.
These results underscore the functional impact of misestimating one’s current functioning and relative level of ability. These findings are consistent with the use of insight-focused treatments and compensatory strategies designed to increase self-awareness in multiple functional domains.
PMCID: PMC4522405  PMID: 25643212
schizophrenia; insight; cognition; metacognition; functional capacity
3.  Buffering Syndemic Effects in a Sexual Risk-Reduction Intervention for Male Clients of Female Sex Workers: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial 
American journal of public health  2015;105(9):1866-1871.
We sought to test the efficacy of a sexual risk intervention for male clients of female sex workers (FSWs) and examine whether efficacy was moderated by syndemic risk.
From 2010 to 2014, we conducted a 2-arm randomized controlled trial (60-minute, theory-based, safer sex intervention versus a didactic time-equivalent attention control) that included 400 male clients of FSWs on the US–Mexico border with follow-up at 4, 8, and 12 months. We measured 5 syndemic risk factors, including substance use and depression. Primary outcomes were sexually transmitted infections incidence and total unprotected sex with FSWs.
Although participants in both groups became safer, there was no significant difference in behavior change between groups. However, baseline syndemic risk moderated intervention efficacy. At baseline, there was a positive association between syndemic risk and unprotected sex. Then at 12 months, longitudinal analyses showed the association depended on intervention participation (B = −0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI] = −1.22, −0.20; P = .007). Among control participants there still existed this modest association (B = 0.36; 95% CI = −0.49, 1.22; P = .09); among intervention participants there was a significant negative association (B = −0.35; 95% CI = −0.63, −0.06; P = .02).
A brief intervention might attenuate syndemic risks among clients of FSWs. Other populations experiencing syndemic problems may also benefit from such programs.
PMCID: PMC4529804  PMID: 25713953
4.  Short-Term Cessation of Sex Work and Injection Drug Use: Evidence from a Recurrent Event Survival Analysis 
Addictive behaviors  2015;45:63-69.
This study quantitatively examined the prevalence and correlates of short-term sex work cessation among female sex workers who inject drugs (FSW-IDUs) and determined whether injection drug use was independently associated with cessation.
We used data from FSW-IDUs (n=467) enrolled into an intervention designed to increase condom use and decrease sharing of injection equipment but was not designed to promote sex work cessation. We applied a survival analysis that accounted for quit-re-entry patterns of sex work over 1-year stratified by city, Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Overall, 55% of participants stopped sex work at least once during follow-up. Controlling for other characteristics and intervention assignment, injection drug use was inversely associated with short-term sex work cessation in both cities. In Ciudad Juarez, women receiving drug treatment during follow-up had a 2-fold increase in the hazard of stopping sex work. In both cities, income from sources other than sex work, police interactions and healthcare access were independently and significantly associated with shorter-term cessation.
Short-term sex work cessation was significantly affected by injection drug use. Expanded drug treatment and counseling coupled with supportive services such as relapse prevention, job training, and provision of alternate employment opportunities may promote longer-term cessation among women motivated to leave the sex industry.
PMCID: PMC4373980  PMID: 25644589
5.  Determinants of Different Aspects of Everyday Outcome in Schizophrenia: The Roles of Negative Symptoms, Cognition, and Functional Capacity 
Schizophrenia research  2015;165(1):76-82.
Cognition, negative symptoms, and depression are potential predictors of disability in schizophrenia. We present analyses of pooled data from four separate studies (all n>169; total n=821) that assessed differential aspects of disability and their potential determinants. We hypothesized that negative symptoms would predict social outcomes, but not vocational functioning or everyday activities and that cognition and functional capacity would predict vocational functioning and everyday activities but not social outcomes. The samples were rated by clinician informants for their everyday functioning in domains of social and vocational outcomes, and everyday activities, examined with assessments of cognition and functional capacity, rated clinically with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and self-reporting depression. We computed a model that tested the hypotheses described above and compared it to a model that predicted that negative symptoms, depression, cognition, and functional capacity had equivalent influences on all aspects of everyday functioning. The former, specific relationship model fit the data adequately and we subsequently confirmed a similar fit within all four samples. Analyses of the relative goodness of fit suggested that this specific model fit the data better than the more general, equivalent influence predictor model. We suggest that treatments aimed at cognition may not affect social functioning as much as other aspects of disability, a finding consistent with earlier research on the treatment of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, while negative symptoms predicted social functioning. These relationships are central features of schizophrenia and treatment efforts should be aimed accordingly.
PMCID: PMC4437911  PMID: 25868935
6.  Place of Residence Moderates the Relationship Between Emotional Closeness and Syringe Sharing Among Injection Drug Using Clients of Sex Workers in the US-Mexico Border Region 
AIDS and behavior  2015;19(6):987-995.
Injection drug-using men from the US and Mexico who purchase sex in Tijuana, Mexico are at risk for transmitting HIV to their contacts in both countries via syringe sharing. We used social network methods to understand whether place of residence (US vs. Mexico) moderated the effect of emotional closeness on syringe sharing. We interviewed 199 drug-using men who reported paying/trading for sex in Tijuana, Mexico using an epidemiological and social network survey and collected samples for HIV/STI testing. Seventy-two men reported using injection drugs with 272 network contacts. Emotional closeness was strongly associated with syringe sharing in relationship where the partner lives in the US, while the relationship between emotional closeness and syringe sharing was considerably less strong in dyads where the partner lives in Mexico. Efforts to reduce HIV risk behaviors in emotionally close relationships are needed, and could benefit from tailoring to the environmental context of the relationship.
PMCID: PMC4475673  PMID: 25613593
HIV; Injection drug use; Commercial sex work; Mobility; Social network analysis
7.  Risk Factors for Recent Intimate Partner Violence among Methamphetamine-Using Men and Women 
Journal of psychoactive drugs  2016;48(2):135-145.
The Substance Abuse, Violence, and HIV/AIDS (SAVA) syndemic model describes how the confluence of the three epidemics of substance abuse, violence, and HIV risk work synergistically to create excess burden among populations. We sought to identify risk factors associated with recent intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization among heterosexual methamphetamine (meth)-using men (n = 108) and women (n = 122) enrolled in FASTLANE-II, an HIV behavioral intervention in San Diego, CA. Women and men reported high rates of physical-only (women: 20%; men: 18%) and sexual (women: 25%; men: 23%) IPV. Multinomial regression analysis revealed that individuals who reported lower social support and individuals who reported a greater likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviors while high on meth were more likely to report IPV versus no IPV. Women who reported a greater likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviors while high on meth were 1.58 times more likely to report physical-only IPV versus no IPV, while men who reported similar behaviors were 1.15 times more likely to report physical-only IPV versus no IPV. Our findings highlight the influence of interpersonal factors on IPV. This research supports further study on gender-specific risk/protective factors and the development of gender-specific interventions targeting the SAVA syndemic among meth users.
PMCID: PMC4882313  PMID: 27163712
Drug use; gender differences; intimate partner violence; methamphetamine; SAVA syndemic
8.  Current Smoking is Associated with Worse Cognitive and Adaptive Functioning in Serious Mental Illness 
Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica  2015;131(5):333-341.
Cigarette smoking is highly prevalent among people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Few studies have examined whether smoking history is associated with adaptive functioning among individuals diagnosed with these serious mental illnesses.
In a large relatively homogenous cohort of patients with either bipolar disorder (n=363) or schizophrenia (n=400), we investigated the association between cigarette smoking status, intensity, and cumulative exposure and performance on a comprehensive battery of neurocognitive, functional capacity, informant-rated functional measures. The associations were adjusted for variation in sociodemographic indicators, psychopathologic symptoms, and substance use.
There was an average of 12 pack years of smoking across the sample. People with schizophrenia reported double the rate of current smoking compared to patients with bipolar disorder. Adjusting for demographic covariates, current smokers had worse composite cognitive functioning and poorer functional outcome than past or never smokers. There were no significant differences between never and past smokers, and these effects were evident in both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Current smokers with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder evidence worse cognitive and adaptive functioning functional outcome, even when demographic covariates are considered.
Significant Outcomes
Patients with schizophrenia had double the rate of smoking compared to patients with bipolar disorder
Current smoking was negatively associated with cognitive functioning, functional capacity, and informant reported functional outcomes in both patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, after adjusting for sociodemographic covariates
The study was cross-sectional and so causal associations cannot be inferred
Tobacco use was assessed with a self-report instrument
The sample was relatively homogenous and high function and may not generalize to ethnically diverse or more symptomatic samples
PMCID: PMC4400207  PMID: 25559296
Cognition; Neuropsychology; Schizophrenia; Psychosis; Bipolar Disorder; Nicotine
11.  Cost-Effectiveness of Combined Sexual and Injection Risk Reduction Interventions among Female Sex Workers Who Inject Drugs in Two Very Distinct Mexican Border Cities. 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0147719.
We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of combined single session brief behavioral intervention, either didactic or interactive (Mujer Mas Segura, MMS) to promote safer-sex and safer-injection practices among female sex workers who inject drugs (FSW-IDUs) in Tijuana (TJ) and Ciudad-Juarez (CJ) Mexico. Data for this analysis was obtained from a factorial RCT in 2008–2010 coinciding with expansion of needle exchange programs (NEP) in TJ, but not in CJ.
A Markov model was developed to estimate the incremental cost per quality adjusted life year gained (QALY) over a lifetime time frame among a hypothetical cohort of 1,000 FSW-IDUs comparing a less intensive didactic vs. a more intensive interactive format of the MMS, separately for safer sex and safer injection combined behavioral interventions. The costs for antiretroviral therapy was not included in the model. We applied a societal perspective, a discount rate of 3% per year and currency adjusted to US$2014. A multivariate sensitivity analysis was performed. The combined and individual components of the MMS interactive behavioral intervention were compared with the didactic formats by calculating the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER), defined as incremental unit of cost per additional health benefit (e.g., HIV/STI cases averted, QALYs) compared to the next least costly strategy. Following guidelines from the World Health Organization, a combined strategy was considered highly cost-effective if the incremental cost per QALY gained fell below the gross domestic product per capita (GDP) in Mexico (equivalent to US$10,300).
For CJ, the mixed intervention approach of interactive safer sex/didactic safer injection had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of US$4,360 ($310–$7,200) per QALY gained compared with a dually didactic strategy. Using the dually interactive strategy had an ICER of US$5,874 ($310–$7,200) compared with the mixed approach. For TJ, the combination of interactive safer sex/didactic safer injection had an ICER of US$5,921 ($104–$9,500) per QALY compared with dually didactic. Strategies using the interactive safe injection intervention were dominated due to lack of efficacy advantage. The multivariate sensitivity analysis showed a 95% certainty that in both CJ and TJ the ICER for the mixed approach (interactive safer sex didactic safer injection intervention) was less than the GDP per capita for Mexico. The dual interactive approach met this threshold consistently in CJ, but not in TJ.
In the absence of an expanded NEP in CJ, the combined-interactive formats of the MMS behavioral intervention is highly cost-effective. In contrast, in TJ where NEP expansion suggests that improved access to sterile syringes significantly reduced injection-related risks, the interactive safer-sex combined didactic safer-injection was highly cost-effective compared with the combined didactic versions of the safer-sex and safer-injection formats of the MMS, with no added benefit from the interactive safer-injection component.
PMCID: PMC4758635  PMID: 26890001
12.  HIV testing among men who have sex with men in Tijuana, Mexico: a cross-sectional study 
BMJ Open  2016;6(2):e010388.
HIV testing is critical to the delivery of comprehensive HIV prevention and care services, yet coverage of sexual minorities by HIV testing programmes remains insufficient in many low- and middle-income countries, including Mexico. The objective of this study was to identify the prevalence and correlates of HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Tijuana, Mexico.
We conducted a cross-sectional study (2012–2013) among 189 MSM recruited via respondent-driven sampling (RDS). RDS-weighted logistic regression was used to identify correlates of prior HIV testing.
RDS-adjusted prevalence of prior and recent (≤12 months) HIV testing was 63.5% (95% CI 51.9% to 73.5%) and 36.8% (95% CI 25.4% to 46.4%), respectively. Prior HIV testing was positively associated with older age (adjusted OR (AOR)=1.09, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.15), being born in Tijuana (AOR=2.68, 95% CI 1.05 to 6.86), higher levels of education (AOR=2.65, 95% CI 1.08 to 6.53), identifying as homosexual or gay (AOR=3.73, 95% CI 1.48 to 9.42), being more ‘out’ about having sex with men (AOR=1.28, 95% CI:1.02 to 1.62), and a history of sexual abuse (AOR=3.24, 95% CI 1.06 to 9.86). Prior HIV testing was negatively associated with reporting more condomless anal intercourse acts (past 2 months) (AOR=0.95, 95% CI 0.92 to 0.98) and greater internalised homophobia (AOR=0.92, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.99).
Our findings indicate an urgent need for expanded HIV testing services for MSM in Tijuana. Innovative, non-stigmatising, confidential HIV testing interventions targeted at young, less educated, migrant and non-gay identifying MSM may facilitate HIV testing and timely linkage to HIV care and treatment within this population.
PMCID: PMC4746448  PMID: 26846899
HIV testing; men who have sex with men; Mexico-US border; respondent-driven sampling
13.  Perceived stigma of purchasing sex among Latino and non-Latino male clients of female sex workers in Tijuana, Mexico 
HIV prevention efforts must be comprehensive in their understanding of the factors involved in HIV risk. Male clients, who have received less research attention than female sex workers (FSWs), may experience stigma as a function of purchasing sex. Perceived stigma may be related to poor psychological outcomes, risky psychosexual characteristics, and higher drug and sexual risk behavior among male clients of FSWs. However, perceived stigma of purchasing sex may differ between clients of different ethnic groups. In the present study, we examine the correlates of perceived stigma of purchasing sex among Latino vs. non-Latino male clients of FSWs in Tijuana, Mexico. Using time-location sampling, we recruited 375 male clients (323 Latino, 52 non-Latino) in Tijuana who completed a computerized survey on various measures. We measured perceived stigma of purchasing sex using three items we developed for this study. Using linear regression analyses we found that perceived stigma was associated with greater guilt, a greater feeling of escape from everyday life, and more negative condom attitudes among Latino clients. This was not found among non-Latino clients. Features of Latino culture, like machismo, and how they may relate to stigma of purchasing sex are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3934939  PMID: 23979714
14.  Reliability, Validity and Treatment Sensitivity of the Schizophrenia Cognition Rating Scale 
Cognitive functioning can be assessed with performance-based assessments such as neuropsychological tests and with interview-based assessments. Both assessment methods have the potential to assess whether treatments for schizophrenia improve clinically relevant aspects of cognitive impairment. However, little is known about the reliability, validity and treatment responsiveness of interview-based measures, especially in the context of clinical trials. Data from two studies were utilized to assess these features of the Schizophrenia Cognition Rating Scale (SCoRS). One of the studies was a validation study involving 79 patients with schizophrenia assessed at 3 academic research centers in the US. The other study was a 32-site clinical trial conducted in the US and Europe comparing the effects of encenicline, an alpha-7 nicotine agonist, to placebo in 319 patients with schizophrenia. The SCoRS interviewer ratings demonstrated excellent test-retest reliability in several different circumstances, including those that did not involve treatment (ICC> 0.90), and during treatment (ICC>0.80). SCoRS interviewer ratings were related to cognitive performance as measured by the MCCB (r= −0.35), and demonstrated significant sensitivity to treatment with encenicline compared to placebo (P<.001). These data suggest that the SCoRS has potential as a clinically relevant measure in clinical trials aiming to improve cognition in schizophrenia, and may be useful for clinical practice. The weaknesses of the SCoRS include its reliance on informant information, which is not available for some patients, and reduced validity when patient self-report is the sole information source.
PMCID: PMC4277931  PMID: 25028065
cognition; schizophrenia; cognitive impairment; assessment; treatment response; SCoRS
15.  Factors Influencing Self-Assessment of Cognition and Functioning in Schizophrenia: Implications For Treatment Studies 
Awareness of illness is a major factor in schizophrenia and extends into unawareness of cognitive and functional deficits. This unawareness of functional limitations has been shown to be influenced by several different predictive factors, including greater impairment and less severe depression. As treatment efforts are aimed at reducing cognitive deficits, discovery of the most efficient assessment strategies for detection of cognitive and functional changes is critical. In this study, we collected systematic assessments from high contact clinicians focusing on their impressions of the cognitive deficits and everyday functioning in a sample of 169 community dwelling patients with schizophrenia. The patients provided self-report on those same rating scales, as well as self-reporting their depression and performing an assessment of cognitive performance and functional skills. There was essentially no correlation between patients' self reports of their cognitive performance and functional skills and either clinician ratings of these skills or the results of the performance-based assessments. In contrast, clinician reports of cognitive impairments and everyday functioning were correlated with objective performance data. Depression on the part of patients was associated with ratings of functioning that were both more impaired and more congruent with clinician impressions, while overall patients reported less impairment than clinicians. These results underscore the limitations of self reported cognitive functioning even with structured rating scales. Concurrently, clinicians provided ratings of cognitive performance that were related to scores on objective tests, even though they were unaware of the results of those assessments.
PMCID: PMC4305496  PMID: 25104226
schizophrenia; insight; cognition; depression; functioning; functional capacity
16.  Why Does Placement of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease into Long-term Care Improve Caregivers’ Well-Being? Examination of Psychological Mediators 
Psychology and aging  2014;29(4):776-786.
Caregiving for individuals with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is associated with chronic stress and elevated symptoms of depression. Placement of the care receiver (CR) into a long-term care setting may be associated with improved caregiver well-being; however, the psychological mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear. This study evaluated whether decreases in activity restriction and increases in personal mastery mediated placement-related reductions in caregiver depressive symptoms. In a five-year longitudinal study of 126 spousal AD caregivers, we used multilevels models to evaluate placement-related changes in depressive symptoms (CESD-10), activity restriction (Activity Restriction Scale), and personal mastery (Pearlin Mastery Scale) in 44 caregivers who placed their spouses into long-term care relative to caregivers who never placed their CRs. The Monte Carlo Method for Assessing Mediation (MCMAM) was used to evaluate the significance of the indirect effect of activity restriction and personal mastery on post-placement changes in depressive symptoms. Placement of the CR was associated with significant reductions in depressive symptoms and activity restriction, while also being associated with increased personal mastery. Lower activity restriction and higher personal mastery were associated with reduced depressive symptoms. Furthermore, both variables significantly mediated the effect of placement on depressive symptoms. Placement-related reductions in activity restriction and increases in personal mastery are important psychological factors that help explain post-placement reductions in depressive symptoms. The implications for clinical care provided to caregivers are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4267921  PMID: 25133414
stress; depression; activity restriction; personal mastery; Alzheimer's Disease
17.  Social Competence Versus Negative Symptoms as Predictors of Real World Social Functioning in Schizophrenia 
Schizophrenia research  2014;160(0):136-141.
Deficits in real world social functioning are common in people with schizophrenia and the treatment of social skills deficits has been a long-time treatment strategy. However, negative (i.e., deficit) symptoms also appear to contribute to real-world social dysfunction. In this study, we combined data from three separate studies of people with schizophrenia (total n=561) who were assessed with identical methods. We examined the prediction of real-world social functioning, rated by high contact clinicians, and compared the influence of negative symptoms and social skills measured with performance-based methods on these outcomes. Negative symptom severity accounted for 20% of the variance in real-world social functioning, with social skills adding an incremental 2%. This 2% variance contribution was the same when social skills were forced into a regression model prior to negative symptom severity. When we examined individual negative symptoms, prediction of real-world social functioning increased to 28%, with active and passive social avoidance entering the equation. Adding depression into the predictor model improved the prediction of real-world social functioning significantly, but minimally (4% variance). Social skills contribute to real-world social outcomes, but treating negative symptoms appears to be a possible path for improving real-world social functioning in this population.
PMCID: PMC4258126  PMID: 25468184
Schizophrenia; Negative Symptoms; Social Competence; Social Functioning
18.  Prevalence and Correlates of Client-Perpetrated Violence against Female Sex Workers in 13 Mexican Cities 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0143317.
Globally, client-perpetrated violence against female sex workers (FSWs) has been associated with multiple health-related harms, including high-risk sexual behavior and increased exposure to HIV/STIs. This study examined correlates of client-perpetrated sexual, physical, and economic violence (e.g., robbery) against FSWs in 13 cities throughout Mexico.
FSWs (N = 1,089) who were enrolled in a brief, evidence-based, sexual risk reduction intervention for FSWs (Mujer Segura) were interviewed about their work context, including experiences of violence perpetrated by clients, sexual risk and substance use practices, financial need, and social supports. Three broad categories of factors (sociodemographic, work context, behavioral and social characteristics of FSWs) were examined as correlates of sexual, physical, and economic violence.
The prevalence of different types of client-perpetrated violence against FSWs in the past 6 months was: sexual (11.7%), physical (11.8%), economic (16.9%), and any violence (22.6%). Greater financial need, self-identification as a street worker, and lower perceived emotional support were independently associated with all three types of violence. Alcohol use before or during sex with clients in the past month was associated with physical and sexual violence. Using drugs before or during sex with clients, injection drug use in the past month, and population size of city were associated with sexual violence only, and FSWs’ alcohol use score (AUDIT-C) was associated with economic violence only.
Correlates of client-perpetrated violence encompassed sociodemographic, work context, and behavioral and social factors, suggesting that approaches to violence prevention for FSWs must be multi-dimensional. Prevention could involve teaching FSWs strategies for risk avoidance in the workplace (e.g., avoiding use of alcohol with clients), enhancement of FSWs’ community-based supports, development of interventions that deliver an anti-violence curriculum to clients, and programs to address FSWs’ financial need by increasing their economic opportunities outside of the sex trade.
PMCID: PMC4657898  PMID: 26599083
Violence against women  2014;20(4):427-445.
History of abuse has been associated with greater HIV risk among women. This study examined client-perpetrated abuse among female sex workers (FSWs) in two Mexico-U.S. border cities where HIV prevalence is rising. Among 924 FSWs, prevalence of client-perpetrated abuse was 31%. In multivariate logistic regression models, intimate partner violence, psychological distress and having drug-using clients were associated with experiencing client-perpetrated abuse. FSWs along the Mexico-U.S. border report frequently experiencing abuse from both clients and intimate partners, which may have serious mental health consequences. Our findings suggest the need for screening and gender-based violence prevention services for Mexican FSWs.
PMCID: PMC3999240  PMID: 24686125
Client-perpetrated abuse; Female sex workers; Hispanic women; HIV risk
20.  Sustainability of Evidence-Based Practices for HIV Prevention among Female Sex Workers in Mexico 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0141508.
This study examined service provider perceptions of requirements for successful sustainment of an efficacious intervention for preventing HIV/AIDS and STIs in female sex workers (FSWs) in Mexico.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 77 leaders and counselors from 12 community-based reproductive health clinics located throughout Mexico participating in a large hybrid effectiveness-implementation randomized controlled trial to scale-up the use of Mujer Segura, a psychoeducational intervention designed to promote condom use and enhance safer sex negotiation skills among FSWs.
Five sets of requirements for sustainment were identified: 1) characteristics of the provider, including competence in delivering the intervention, need for continued technical support and assistance from outside experts, and satisfaction with addressing the needs of this population; 2) characteristics of the clients (i.e., FSWs), including client need and demand for services and incentives for participation; 3) characteristics of the organization, including its mission, benefits, and operations; 4) characteristics of the outer setting, including financial support and relationship with the community-based organization’s central offices, and transportation and security in areas where FSWs live and work; and 5) outcomes associated with the intervention itself, including a reduction of risk through education and increased outreach through referrals from FSWs who received the intervention.
Although the requirements for successful sustainment of interventions like Mujer Segura are consistent with the factors identified in many models of implementation, the results illustrate the importance of local context in assigning priority to these model elements and suggest that the five categories are not discrete entities but interconnected.
PMCID: PMC4627751  PMID: 26517265
21.  Prevalence and correlates of HIV among men who have sex with men in Tijuana, Mexico 
Men who have sex with men (MSM) in developing countries such as Mexico have received relatively little research attention. In Tijuana, Mexico, a border city experiencing a dynamic HIV epidemic, data on MSM are over a decade old. Our aims were to estimate the prevalence and examine correlates of HIV infection among MSM in this city.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of 191 MSM recruited through respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in 2012. Biological males over the age of 18 who resided in Tijuana and reported sex with a male in the past year were included. Participants underwent interviewer-administered surveys and rapid tests for HIV and syphilis with confirmation.
A total of 33 MSM tested positive for HIV, yielding an RDS-adjusted estimated 20% prevalence. Of those who tested positive, 89% were previously unaware of their HIV status. An estimated 36% (95% CI: 26.4–46.5) had been tested for HIV in the past year, and 30% (95% CI: 19.0–40.0) were estimated to have ever used methamphetamine. Independent correlates of being infected with HIV were methamphetamine use (odds ratio [OR]=2.24, p=0.045, 95% CI: 1.02, 4.92) and active syphilis infection (OR=4.33, p=0.01, 95% CI: 1.42, 13.19).
Our data indicate that MSM are a key sub-population in Tijuana at higher risk for HIV. Tijuana would also appear to have the highest proportion among upper-middle-income countries of HIV-positive MSM who are unknowingly infected. More HIV prevention research on MSM is urgently needed in Tijuana.
PMCID: PMC4323407  PMID: 25669423
men who have sex with men; correlates of HIV infection; HIV prevalence; US–Mexico border; global public health; respondent-driven sampling
22.  Positive Affect and Sleep in Spousal Alzheimer Caregivers: A Longitudinal Study 
Behavioral sleep medicine  2013;12(5):358-372.
We examined the longitudinal relationship between positive affect (PA) and sleep in 126 spousal Alzheimer’s disease caregivers. Caregivers underwent four yearly assessments for the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the self-rated Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and actigraphy to objectify nighttime total sleep time, wake after sleep onset and percent sleep. Increased levels of PA and a greater positivity (i.e., positive-to-negative affect) ratio were significantly associated with better subjective sleep over the entire study period. Yearly increases in PA -even when controlling for negative affect (NA)- and in the positivity ratio also were associated with better subjective sleep. PA and actigraphy measures showed no significant relationship. Increased PA is longitudinally associated with better sleep in dementia caregivers largely independent of NA.
PMCID: PMC3999303  PMID: 24156281
23.  Hazardous Drinking and HIV-risk-related Behaviour among Male Clients of Female Sex Workers in Tijuana, Mexico 
Background and Objectives
Male clients of female sex workers (FSWs) are at high risk for HIV. Whereas the HIV risks of alcohol use are well understood, less is known about hazardous alcohol use among male clients of FSWs, particularly in Mexico. We sought to identify risk factors for hazardous alcohol use and test associations between hazardous alcohol use and HIV risk behaviour among male clients in Tijuana.
Male clients of FSWs in Tijuana (n = 400) completed a quantitative interview in 2008. The AUDIT was used to characterize hazardous alcohol use. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine independent associations of demographic and HIV risk variables with hazardous alcohol use (vs. non-hazardous).
Forty percent of our sample met criteria for hazardous alcohol use. Variables independently associated with hazardous drinking were reporting any sexually transmitted infection (STI), having sex with a FSW while under the influence of alcohol, being younger than 36 years of age, living in Tijuana, and ever having been jailed. Hazardous drinkers were less likely ever to have been deported or to have shared injection drugs.
Discussion and Conclusions
Hazardous alcohol use is associated with HIV risk, including engaging in sex with FSWs while intoxicated and having an STI among male clients of FSWs in Tijuana.
Scientific Significance
We systematically described patterns and correlates of hazardous alcohol use among male clients of FSWs in Tijuana, Mexico. The results suggest that HIV/STI risk reduction interventions must target hazardous alcohol users, and be tailored to address alcohol use.
PMCID: PMC4427019  PMID: 25066863
male clients; FSW; alcohol; AUDIT; Mexico
24.  The effect of language on functional capacity assessment in middle-aged and older US Latinos with schizophrenia 
Psychiatry research  2014;218(0):31-34.
The U.S. Latino population is steadily increasing, prompting a need for cross-cultural outcome measures in schizophrenia research. This study examined the contribution of language to functional assessment in middle-aged Latino patients with schizophrenia by comparing 29 monolingual Spanish-speakers, 29 Latino English-speakers, and 29 non-Latino English-speakers who were matched on relevant demographic variables and who completed cognitive and functional assessments in their native language. There were no statistically significant differences between groups on the four everyday functioning variables (UCSD Performance-Based Skills Assessment [UPSA], Social Skills Performance Assessment [SSPA], Medication Management Ability Assessment [MMAA], and the Global Assessment of Functioning [GAF]). The results support the cross-linguistic and cross-cultural acceptability of these functional assessment instruments. It appears that demographic variables other than language (e.g., age, education) better explain differences in functional assessment among ethnically diverse subpopulations. Considering the influence of these other factors in addition to language on functional assessments will help ensure that measures can be appropriately interpreted among the diverse residents of the United States.
PMCID: PMC4060983  PMID: 24751379
everyday functioning; psychosis; geriatric
25.  A police education programme to integrate occupational safety and HIV prevention: protocol for a modified stepped-wedge study design with parallel prospective cohorts to assess behavioural outcomes 
BMJ Open  2015;5(8):e008958.
Policing practices are key drivers of HIV among people who inject drugs (PWID). This paper describes the protocol for the first study to prospectively examine the impact of a police education programme (PEP) to align law enforcement and HIV prevention. PEPs incorporating HIV prevention (including harm reduction programmes like syringe exchange) have been successfully piloted in several countries but were limited to brief pre–post assessments; the impact of PEPs on policing behaviours and occupational safety is unknown.
Proyecto ESCUDO (SHIELD) aims to evaluate the efficacy of the PEP on uptake of occupational safety procedures, as assessed through the incidence of needle stick injuries (NSIs) (primary outcome) and changes in knowledge of transmission, prevention and treatment of HIV and viral hepatitis; attitudes towards PWID, adverse behaviours that interfere with HIV prevention and protective behaviours (secondary outcomes).
ESCUDO is a hybrid type I design that simultaneously tests an intervention and an implementation strategy. Using a modified stepped-wedge design involving all active duty street-level police officers in Tijuana (N=∼1200), we will administer one 3 h PEP course to groups of 20–50 officers until the entire force is trained. NSI incidence and geocoded arrest data will be assessed from department-wide de-identified data. Of the consenting police officers, a subcohort (N=500) will be randomly sampled from each class to undergo pre-PEP and post-PEP surveys with a semiannual follow-up for 2 years to assess self-reported NSIs, attitudes and behaviour changes. The impact on PWIDs will be externally validated through a parallel cohort of Tijuana PWIDs.
Research ethics approval was obtained from the USA and Mexico. Findings will be disseminated through open access to protocol materials through the Law Enforcement and HIV Network.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC4538275  PMID: 26260350

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