Since 2010, Dr. Michael Parsa has held responsibilities as Paul L. Foster School of Medicine emergency medicine assistant professor with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. With a strong interest in health issues facing members of underserved communities, Dr. Michael Parsa has volunteered in locales such as Port Au Prince, Haiti, with with Samaritan’s Purse. In El Paso, he co-authored the paper Rethinking HIV Risks among Women on the US/Mexico Border: Alcohol and Latina Sex Behavior.
With unprotected sex with HIV positive males the leading cause of HIV transmission among Latinas, the paper focuses on the extent to which Latina emergency department (ED) patients engage in sexual behavior that puts them at risk. This under-examined topic was explored via a survey handed out to adult female ED patients who were sexually active. The survey included an alcohol dependency screen.
Through multivariable linear regression analysis, Dr. Parsa and his colleagues explored links between drinking and HIV sex risk behaviors. The majority of patients surveyed reported being unconcerned about HIV infection risks, with those who scored positive for alcohol dependency more likely to engage in behavior that entailed risks.
Unfortunately, there was no significant difference between those who were alcohol dependent and those who were not in the level of concern over the health consequences of risky behavior. The paper thus recommended that coordinated preventive interventions be undertaken to increases levels of awareness among young Latina women.