Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Women, Harm Reduction and HIV

For women who inject drugs, the stigma of injection drug use is added to gendered discrimination; these factors combined can push women into behaviors that increase their risk of HIV, according to this report published by OSI's International Harm Reduction Development Program. There is a higher likelihood that women drug users will provide sex in exchange for housing, sustenance, and protection; suffer violence from sexual partners; and have difficulty insisting that their sexual partners use condoms. Women drug users may also rely on men to inject them with drugs and to acquire drugs and injection equipment, a behavior shown to increase the likelihood of injection with contaminated equipment.

This study, entitled Women, Harm Reduction, and HIV, looks at factors that reduce women drug users’ access to health care including punitive policies, discrimination by police and health care providers, the intense social stigma attached to drug use by women, a preponderance of harm reduction and drug treatment programs directed primarily toward men, an absence of sexual and reproductive health services for drug users, and poor access to effective outpatient drug treatment, in which methadone or buprenorphine are prescribed to reduce cravings for illicit opiates. Pregnant drug users are particularly vulnerable. In too many instances, they receive little or no accurate information about drug use during pregnancy or prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In some countries pregnant drug users are rejected by health care providers, threatened with criminal penalties or loss of parental rights, or coerced into having an abortion or abandoning their newborns to the state. Poor access to medication-assisted treatment jeopardizes the pregnancies of opiate-dependent drug users.

Women, Harm Reduction, and HIV demonstrates that increasing women drug users’ access to needed services, including drug treatment, harm reduction, and sexual and reproductive health care services, is crucial. Achieving this goal requires policies that encourage women to seek drug treatment and harm reduction rather than punishing or stigmatizing them for drug use during pregnancy or motherhood; increased availability of medication-assisted treatment; incorporation of sexual and reproductive health and other women’s services into harm reduction programs; flexible, low-threshold services that are more convenient for women with children; and links between harm reduction, drug treatment, women’s shelters, and violence prevention services.

Women, Harm Reduction, and HIV is available for download below.


Women, Harm Reduction, and HIV
PDF Document - 260K
Download the complete report.



OSI Report

4 comments:

Ada said...

the situation is becoming worse and worse 4 women, most of my female friends on positivesingles.com have great sympathy 4 them,n also we hope they can be more independent.

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