The city-government office that administers health-inspection cards to prostitutes in Tijuana has noted a twofold increase in card issuances during the past three years.
According to Angel de La Torre, director of Servicios Medicos Municipales, 2000 sexoservidoras were issued health cards three years ago, but that number is up to 5976 currently active cards.
Some 16,000 women are registered, but most are reportedly not actively operating; the department believes that only around 2000 are patrolling the streets and bars.
The rise in health cards is believed to be due to a campaign directed at working girls, encouraging them to get regular STD checkups. Also, the 46 bars that harbor active hookers are insisting that women working in the establishments adhere to the health regulations — or they will not be allowed access to the bars’ clientele.
Most of the women working in TJ are reportedly from outside Baja, principally from Puebla, Jalisco, Sonora, Sinaloa, Tlaxcala, and, more recently, Chiapas and Tabasco.
Ninety-eight percent of the sexoservidoras working in the nightclub district known as the Zona Norte have health cards and are subject to checkups.
Other demographics collected by the agency indicate that 40 percent of the women are between 18 and 25 years old; another 40 percent are between 25 and 35; and 20 percent are between 35 and 60 years old.
Besides the usual STDs, the women are checked for the flu, bronchitis, and other communicable respiratory diseases. Two women were found to be infected with the HIV virus this past year while undergoing checkups; however, they left for parts unknown after learning of their positive diagnoses.