Overview of HIV/AIDS in the Arizona-Mexico Border Region

Arizona border mapBackground

Arizona had a population of 6,553,255, in 2012 with 2,276 new AIDS cases and 1,059 new cases of HIV reported over the years of 2007-2011. Men accounted for nearly 87% of HIV/AIDS cases, and women accounted for only 13%. Of the total newly reported AIDS cases 2007-2011, 57% were in men who have sex with men (MSM), injection drug users (IDUs) made up 8% of the cases, MSM/IDU were 5.6%, heterosexual contact was associated with 9.9%, blood product recipients and hemophiliacs made up only 0.4%, though the transmission in the remaining 18.0% of cases was unknown. The proportion of HIV cases diagnosed in MSM increased during this period relative to previous reports.
The five-year HIV/AIDS case rate declined throughout the 1990's, experienced little fluctuation from the 1998-2002 time period, and has begun to decrease from 2003-2007. The 2007-2011 5-year rate is 23% lower than the prior 5 year rate.  The exception to this declining rate is for the year 2012, which is slightly higher than 2011. In 2012, eight cases of emergent HIV among children were reported, the highest report in the last decade. Meanwhile, the proportion of HIV or AIDS cases that are reported in urban settings increased during this period, so that 85% of reported HIV/AIDS prevalent and emergent infections occur in urban counties that contain 76% of the state population. Between 2007-2011, the emergence of HIV/AIDS in Black Non-Hispanics is 164% higher than the statewide average. This is consistent with national data, in that the CDC estimate 46% of new diagnoses are Black Non-Hispanic, though only composing 12% of the overall population.
Arizona has 4 border counties that lie directly on the U.S.- Mexico border. These border counties, together, represent approximately 1,597 AIDS cases, or 20% of the total for the state, with 128 AIDS cases and 98 HIV cases reported in Yuma County; 95 AIDS cases and 114 HIV cases in Cochise County; 26 AIDS cases and 18 HIV cases in Santa Cruz County; and 1,330 of AIDS cases and 1,097 HIV cases in Pima County. The availability of services and HIV/AIDS training opportunities are somewhat limited in all four counties. Mental health and substance abuse services are primarily provided by Southeastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services, Inc.; HIV/AIDS services are provided through private practitioners or community clinics; and training is provided primarily by the Arizona AIDS Education and Training Center (PAETC) located in Tucson. Resources by county are described, below, as are resources available in Tucson which, while a few miles outside of the border-defined area, also has HIV/AIDS resources that those living in the border area may chose to access.




People Living with HIV/AIDS

New HIV Cases

Cumulative HIV Cases

New AIDS Cases

Cumulative AIDS Cases






















Santa Cruz














  • HIV Epidemiology Program: Division of Public Health Services Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Office of HIV/AIDS Services.
  • Population: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 estimates.


Cochise County

Cochise County is the largest and most diverse border county. It represents 6,169 square miles with a population of 138,088 persons as of 2012. The average median household income in Cochise County was 45,505 in 2012. In Cochise County in 2012, 209 people were living with HIV or AIDS. Douglas and Sierra Vista are the largest communities in the county. Douglas is directly on the U.S./Mexico border, and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico is its "sister city". Sierra Vista is largely a military town with Fort Huachuca bringing a diversity of military personnel. Bisbee, AZ has a large arts community and, for relatively rural Arizona, a large gay male population. HIV/AIDS care is mostly provided by private practice physicians who co-manage patients with HIV specialists in Tucson and Phoenix. Care is primarily paid for under the Part B Ryan White Treatment Modernization Act and managed by Chiricahua Community Health Center. 

Pima County

Pima County is located in southern Arizona and covers an area of approximately 9,200 square miles. The 2012 Census population estimate for Pima County was 992,394. The median household income for inhabitants of Pima was $46,443 in 2012. According to the 2012 Census, Hispanics constituted 35.4% of Pima County's total population (compared to 30.2% for the state), American Indians 4.2%, African Americans 4%, Asians 2.9% and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders 0.2%. The 2012 population in Pima County was 50.8% female and 49.2% male.

In 2013, the University of Arizona Petersen Clinics were awarded $630,000 from the Part C Ryan White Treatment Modernization Act that allowed them to implement Early Intervention Services. Additionally, Petersen Clinics funds outpatient ambulatory medical care, health insurance premium and cost sharing assistance, mental health, medical case management (including treatment adherence services), and the EIS.

Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County is in the middle of the State. It is small geographically, particularly compared to Cochise and Yuma Counties. It spans 1,238 square miles and, as of 2012, has a population of 41,303. In 2012, the average median household income was $37,692. Santa Cruz County reported 26 AIDS cases and 18 HIV cases in 2012. The town of Nogales, in Santa Cruz County, AZ borders Nogales, Sonora, Mexico; Rio Rico is situated just north of Nogales. Patients in Santa Cruz county travel to Tucson (about 1 hour driving) for HIV care where they are seen by physicians at Petersen HIV Clinics or El Rio Special Immunology Associates (SIA). 

Yuma County

Yuma County is in the southwest corner of the State and also borders California. It represents 5,514 square miles and, as of 2012, had a population of approximately 200,022. Yuma has both a corrections facility and a military base. In 2012, the average median household income was $41,156. Yuma County had 128 AIDS cases and 98 HIV cases in 2012. Most HIV care is provided through the local Community Health Center (CHC), Sunset Community Health Center, with patients co-managed by HIV specialists in Tucson and San Diego.

Ryan White Care Act Funded Programs

El Rio SIA and Petersen Clinics in Pima County are both contracted by Arizona Department of Health Services to provide Ryan White Part B services and facilitate patient enrollment in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). El Rio SIA and the Petersen Clinics also receive Ryan White Part C funding for Early Intervention Services (EIS). In Yuma County, ADHS contracts with the Yuma County Health Department for Ryan White Part B and ADAP. Chiricahua Community Health Centers in Cochise County manage Ryan White Part B and ADAP. The Arizona AIDS Education and Training Center at the UA College of Medicine is funded under Ryan White Part F. 


Overview prepared by the University of California Los Angeles local performance site of the Pacific AETC. Statistics updated in 2008.