Three papers dealt with issues relating to IDU populations. The first paper looked at an empowerment-based, woman-focused intervention for African-American women who use drugs, and its possible adaptability for South Africa. The second paper was about health disparities and their impact on HIV prevention among ethnically diverse sample of drug-using women living north of the US/Mexico border. The third paper that was presented was also about drug using in South Africa.
The studies were focused on women as drug users and as sex workers. Some of the women were married, living with partners and were doing sex work as a source of income because of unemployment. Some of their partners knew that they were sex workers. They in return did not know whether their partners were involved in any other relationships.
The studies also looked at condom use. One of the studies specifically highlighted the use of two or more condoms used during sexual intercourse. This showed that some of the sex workers did not know how to use a condom. Some of them also claim that they donít use a condom when they sleep with their partners.
All three of the studies looked at women, their drug use and sexual behaviours. Within all three presentations the social-economic issues could not be ignored. Other social factors like power relations, abused relations, and cultural issues could not be ignored.
These factors were directly linked to the abuse of drugs. It was further emphasised that drugs help the women to forget, especially if they work as sex workers.
All three studies still need a lot of work because very little is known about women drug users and their sexual behaviors in relation to health care. The cultural, social and economic pressures are on the increase that puts further pressure for complete sample studies.
AIDS 2002 Conference News produced by Health & Development Networks/Key Correspondent Team