Social context, diversity and risk among women who inject drugs in Vietnam: descriptive findings from a cross-sectional surveyReportar como inadecuado

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Harm Reduction Journal

, 12:35

Harm Reduction in Asia and the Pacific


BackgroundWomen who inject drugs WWID are neglected globally in research and programming yet may be likelier than males to practise sexual and injecting risks and be infected with HIV and more stigmatised but seek fewer services. Little is known about characteristics, practices and nexus between drugs and sex work of WWID in Vietnam, where unsafe injecting has driven HIV transmission, and commercial sex and inconsistent condom use are prevalent. This was the first quantitative investigation of Vietnamese WWID recruited as injecting drug users. This article summarises descriptive findings.

FindingsA cross-sectional survey was conducted among WWID in Hanoi n = 203 and Ho Chi Minh City HCMC n = 200 recruited using respondent-driven sampling. Characteristics varied within and between sites. Twenty-two percent in Hanoi and 47.5 % in HCMC had never sold sex. Almost all commenced with smoking heroin, some as children. Most injected frequently, usually alone, although 8 % Hanoi and 18 % HCMC shared equipment in the previous month. Some had sex—and sold it—as children; most had multiple partners. Condom use was high with clients but very low with intimate partners, often injecting drug users. HIV knowledge was uneven, and large minorities were not tested recently or ever for HIV. Nearly all perceived intense gender-related stigma, especially for drug use.

ConclusionThis ground-breaking study challenges assumptions about characteristics and risks based on anecdotal evidence and studies among men. Most WWID were vulnerable to sexual HIV transmission from intimate partners. Interventions should incorporate broader sociocultural context to protect this highly stigmatised population.

KeywordsPWID Women Vietnam Gender HIV Risk Cross-sectional survey AbbreviationsHCMCHo Chi Minh City

HIVhuman immunodeficiency virus

MWIDmen who inject drugs

NSneedles and syringes

PWIDpeople who inject drugs

RDSrespondent-driven sampling

STIsexually transmitted infection

SWsex work-er

WWIDwomen who inject drugs

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Autor: Oanh TH Khuat - Martha Morrow - Trang NN Nguyen - Gregory Armstrong


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