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Asian Pacific Americans Living with HIV Who Were Smuggled Immigrants: A Qualitative Study


Migrant smuggling is a humanitarian crisis that impacts public health. A limited number of studies have focused on the links between migrant smuggling and its impact on the risk of infectious diseases, including HIV, for those smuggled. To explore these links, we conducted in-depth interviews with 11 Asian and Pacific Americans (APA) living with HIV in New York and Los Angeles. Qualitative content analysis revealed that smuggled immigrants described their experience as one with opportunity and danger. Smuggled immigrants, who aimed to achieve their American dream, were influenced by hometown pioneers who successfully journeyed to the United States and by the prospect of gaining legal status through immigration policy similar to the 1986 amnesty. Unfortunately, the long and dangerous journey exposed the immigrants to health problems, including risk for HIV. Thus, health care providers for immigrants should assess their migration routes and screen for infectious diseases.

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