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Home > Drug using women working in prostitution: outreach work with a 'hard to reach group'.

O'Neil, Mary and O'Connor, Ann Marie (1999) Drug using women working in prostitution: outreach work with a 'hard to reach group'. Dublin: Eastern Health Board.

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This report was compiled by the Women's Health Project of the Eastern Health Board, with the assistance of the European Intervention Project AIDS Prevention for Prostitutes, which was supported by the EU DGV under its programme Europe against AIDS. The Women's Health Project was established in 1991 in response to a perceived need to target HIV prevention at women working in prostitution. It was estimated that there were around 400 female intravenous drug users involved in prostitution in Dublin, and the Women's Health Project had had contact with 260 of them.

This study reported on interviews carried out with 77 drug-using women involved in prostitution. The drugs used by these women were mainly opiates, particularly heroin and methadone, but cocaine and ecstasy were also used. Eighty three per cent said that they had injected drugs in the previous month. Female intravenous drug users working in prostitution tended to be younger, working primarily to feed their habit, and they were found to have the least favourable healthrisk profile when compared with all women working in prostitution. The authors stated that it was often more difficult to attract female drug users to health services, even though they were possibly the ones most in need of the services provided. This study also found significant levels of homelessness among the women interviewed.


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