"Nobody gives a damn if I live or die": violence, drugs, and street-level prostitution in inner-city Hartford, Connecticut.

Hispanic Health Council, Hartford, CT, USA.
Medical Anthropology (Impact Factor: 1.88). 07/2003; 22(3):233-59. DOI: 10.1080/01459740306770
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Drawing on the tenets of critical medical anthropology, this article illustrates the relation between violence, drug use, prostitution, and HIV risk in a group of 35 impoverished women living in inner-city Hartford, Connecticut. The study presented here provides an illustration of the role prostitution plays in the SAVA (Substance Abuse, Violence, and AIDS) syndemic as conceptualized by Singer (1996). By focusing on the life experiences of women engaged in street-level prostitution, this article attempts to fill the gaps in research that deals simultaneously with these mutually reinforcing epidemics. It shows that street-walkers' continuous exposure to violence, both as victims and as witnesses, often leaves them suffering from major emotional trauma. In the absence of adequate support services, women who have been victimized may turn to drug use in an attempt to deal with the harsh realities of their daily lives. In turn, the need for drugs, coupled with a lack of educational and employment opportunities, may lead women into prostitution. Life on the street increases women's risk for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as their risk for HIV/AIDS. Exposure to traumatic experiences deepens the dependence on drugs, completing a vicious cycle of violence, substance abuse, and AIDS risk.

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    ABSTRACT: The association between sexual violence and depression is well known, but the temporal aspects of the association have not been well established. We analyzed data from a cohort of 173 HIV-positive women in rural Uganda who were interviewed every 3 months for a median of 1.8 years of follow-up. The method of generalized estimating equations (GEE) was used to model the marginal expectation of depression symptom severity (Hopkins Symptom Checklist for Depression), mental health-related quality of life (MOS-HIV Mental Health Summary), and heavy drinking (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) as a function of self-reported forced-sex victimization in the 3 months prior to interview. Estimates were adjusted for variables known to confound the association between victimization and mental health status. To assess any potential reciprocal relationships, we reversed the temporal ordering of the exposures and outcomes and refitted similar GEE models. In multivariable analyses, victimization was associated with greater depression symptom severity (b = 0.17; 95% CI = [0.02, 0.33]) and lower mental health-related quality of life (b = -5.65; 95% CI = [-9.34, -1.96]), as well as increased risks for probable depression (adjusted relative risk [ARR] = 1.58; 95% CI = [1.01, 2.49) and heavy drinking (ARR = 3.99; 95% CI = [1.84, 8.63]). We did not find strong evidence of a reciprocal relationship. Our findings suggest that forced sex is associated with adverse mental health outcomes among HIV-positive women in rural Uganda. Given the substantial mental health-related impacts of victimization, effective health sector responses are needed. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Journal of Interpersonal Violence 01/2015; DOI:10.1177/0886260514567966 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Objective: There is a dearth of research examining the linkages between violence and HIV risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM), including those who identify as transgender women (TW), particularly in Central America where violence is widespread. In this paper, we use population-based survey results to independently examine the correlations between physical, emotional and sexual violence and HIV risk behavior among MSM populations in five countries in Central America. Design: As part of USAID's Combination Prevention for HIV program in Central America, PASMO conducted population based surveys using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in nine cities in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Initial seeds were recruited using the following criteria: individuals who represented subgroups of MSM by self-identification (homosexual vs. heterosexual or bisexual vs. transgender), social economic strata, and by sex work practices. This study examines the association between violence and 1) HIV risk behaviors relevant to the study populations; 2) protective behaviors; and 3) reported STIs. Individualized RDS estimator weights for each outcome variable were calculated using RDSAT software, and logistic regression analysis was used to determine associations between different forms of violence and the outcome variables. Results: MSM who experienced physical violence were more likely to be engaged in transactional sex (OR: 1.76 [1.42-2.18]), have multiple partners in the past 30 days (OR: 1.37 [1.09-1.71]), and have engaged in sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OR: 1.51 [1.24-1.83]). Both physical violence and psychological/verbal violence were also associated with reporting STI symptoms or diagnosis within the past 12 months (OR: 1.72 [1.34-2.21] and 1.80 [1.45-2.23]). The effects of violence on the outcomes were observed after controlling for other risk factors. Transgender women were 3.9 times more likely to report engaging in transactional sex. Respondents who were heterosexual, bisexual, or transgender were also more likely to both report multiple partnerships (OR: 1.44 [1.07-1.96], 1.99 [1.67-2.38], 1.79 [1.37-2.33], respectively) and more likely to report engaging in sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OR: 1.52 [1.15-2.01], 1.38 [1.17-1.63], 1.47 [1.16-1.87], respectively), as compared to those identifying as homosexual. Conclusion: Violence experienced by MSM and TW is widespread in Central America. The experience of violence is shown in this study to be independently associated with risk behaviors for HIV infections. Further research and studies are needed to identify the effects violence has on HIV risk behavior among this under-researched population to improve targeted HIV prevention interventions.
    Global Health Action 10/2014; 7:24814. DOI:10.3402/gha.v7.24814 · 1.65 Impact Factor

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