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San Diego Writer Examines HIV Epidemic In Tijuana

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Malcolm Linton 2015

Dr. Patricia Gonzalez, right, presses on a patient's neck at a Friday first-aid clinic that she began in July 2014 in the Tijuana River Canal, Aug. 8, 2014. The image is from the book "Tomorrow Is A Long Time - Tijuana's Unchecked HIV/AIDS Epidemic."

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Photo caption:

Photo credit: Malcolm Linton 2015

Sergio Borrego, who helps run Albergue Las Memorias HIV and AIDS hospice, puts a net over the face of Pedro Robles to prevent flies bothering him as he dies of AIDS in Tijuana, Dec. 11, 2013. The image is from the book "Tomorrow Is A Long Time - Tijuana's Unchecked HIV/AIDS Epidemic."

As a writer for Science magazine, Jon Cohen has covered AIDS stories all over the world. He teamed up with his long-time collaborator Malcolm Linton for his latest project and took a look at the HIV problem in Tijuana.

"Tomorrow is a Long Time: Tijuana's unchecked HIV/AIDS epidemic" was published in October.

Cohen and Linton, a photographer, set up shop in the city's El Bordo region. They followed the lives of about 100 people infected with HIV and AIDS for two years.

“Some people got better, some people dodge the bullet and some people died,” Cohen told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday.

One person highlighted in the book is “Susie,” who lived in a Tijuana canal encampment known as El Bordo. She has HIV and gave up her addiction to drugs after a long battle.

“Susie is someone who had been using heroin since she was a teenager,” Cohen said. “She’s an inspiration for a lot of people who are down and out. She really picked herself up by the bootstraps and made a good life.”

Cohen said he wanted to humanize the people who live in the margins: sex workers, felons, deportees.

University of California TV produced a series based on the book called "HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana," which can be viewed for free.

Cohen and Linton have covered HIV and AIDS in 30 different countries.


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