Three City Feasibility Study of a Body Empowerment and HIV Prevention Intervention Among Women with Drug Use Histories: Women FIT

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 2.05). 09/2010; 19(9):1705-13. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1778
Source: PubMed


New intervention models are needed for HIV prevention among drug-using women.
The Women Fighting Infection Together (Women FIT) feasibility study enrolled 189 women in three U.S. cities (Providence, New York, Philadelphia) with drug-using histories, who also reported risky sexual behavior. Eligible women had participated previously in a yearlong study of HIV Counseling and Testing (HIV-CT) and limited case management. Two thirds of the sample were black, most were unemployed, and about two thirds reported prior or current crack use. Women were randomized into two groups. In one group, women participated in a manualized, four-session, peer-led, interactive group intervention that stressed body knowledge, woman-initiated HIV/sexually transmitted infection (HIV/STI) prevention, including a focus on women's health (reproductive health screening, sexual violence, self-breast examination, STI signs, symptoms), which aimed to increase comfort with and pride in their bodies. Control group women received HIV-CT enriched by female condom counseling. Outcomes included study retention, session attendance and ratings, changes in knowledge, and use of protection methods.
The study successfully retained 95% of the participants for a 2-month follow-up. Positive assessments from participants and peer leaders exceeded preset thresholds for success. Pre-post changes in body knowledge (p < 0.0001) and protection methods knowledge (p < 0.01) was greater among the intervention women than the control women.
The body empowerment model deserves further elaboration in interventions focusing on women at high risk of HIV/STI acquisition.

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