We characterize social welfare and health care needs of women who inject drugs in a community-based survey in San Francisco. A total of 139 women were enrolled; 74.8% were homeless, and 67.6% earned below poverty level. Indicators of health care and prevention program access included: 95.7% with health insurance, 90.6% used a needle exchange program, and 58.2% tested for HIV two or more times. However, only 8.6% received HPV vaccination and there was unmet contraception need for 79.0% of women. Only 28.7% of those testing positive for HCV infection had received treatment. Physical and sexual violence in the last year were common (41.0% and 18.0%, respectively). Women who inject drugs would benefit from integrated health and social services including addressing interpersonal violence, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV and HCV prevention needs. Women-only needle exchange programs and safe injection sites may be effective delivery points for these services.


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pp. 204-219
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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