Susan Sherman

Susan Sherman
Johns Hopkins University | JHU

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325
Publications
32,779
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9,725
Citations
Citations since 2016
200 Research Items
6297 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,200

Publications

Publications (325)
Article
Introduction People who use drugs (PWUD) face a multitude of barriers to accessing healthcare and other services. Mobile health clinics (MHC) are an innovative, cost-effective health care delivery approach that increases healthcare access to vulnerable populations and medically underserved areas. There is limited understanding, however, of how PWUD...
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Introduction Despite decades of empirical research in the US and internationally documenting the benefits of implementing syringe services programs (SSPs), their implementation may be controversial in many jurisdictions. Better understanding how research evidence is applied during SSP implementation processes may enable the public health workforce...
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In this paper we explore people who use drugs (PWUD) perceptions and experiences of drug-related law enforcement in a major U.S. city. Maryland recently implemented several harm reduction policies/interventions aiming to improve PWUD-police relationships, such as the Good Samaritan Law (GSL), intended to avoid criminalizing police encounters with P...
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Background: As overdose remains a major public health concern in the United States, it is important to understand the experiences people who inject drugs (PWID) have with overdose. Past experiences during such emergencies are an important determinant of future behavior, including help seeking, which can be lifesaving. Methods: We explored experienc...
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Few studies have examined HIV testing among people who inject drugs (PWID) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examines factors associated with PWID who have been recently (past six months) tested for HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic. PWID were recruited between August 2020 and January 2021 from 22 drug treatment and harm reduction programs in...
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Background Women who exchange sex (WES) experience extensive interpersonal violence from multiple perpetrators. Violence towards WES contributes to poor mental and behavioral health outcomes, including high rates of drug use. However, it is difficult to disentangle the temporal relationship between drug use and violence among WES. Methods We used...
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Communication about HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) is a cornerstone of risk reduction, yet there is a dearth of research that examines communication patterns among persons with dual risks for HIV/STI acquisition, such as women who sell sex and inject drugs (WSSID). We used logistic regression to identify factors associated with WSSID...
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Background . During the COVID-19 pandemic, overdose rates substantially increased in the United States. One possible contributor to this phenomenon may be solitary drug use resulting from social distancing efforts to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Methods . We surveyed 458 people who use drugs (PWUD) who were recruited from harm reduction and drug...
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Background: Transactional sex is an important driver of HIV risk among people who use drugs in the USA, but there is a dearth of research characterizing men's selling and trading of sex in the context of opioid use. To identify contextually specific factors associated with selling or trading sex in a US population of men who use drugs, we cross-se...
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Background: Existing research in urban areas has documented a multitude of ways in which law enforcement may affect risks for bloodborne infectious disease acquisition among people who inject drugs (PWID), such as via syringe confiscation and engaging in practices that deter persons from accessing syringe services programs (SSPs). However, limited...
Article
Female sex workers (FSW) experience many structural vulnerabilities (SV; e.g., violence, economic insecurity) which contribute to increased risk of HIV and mental distress. However, little research has examined how SV co-occur to shape HIV risk, and none have studied mental distress. Among FSW (n = 385) in Baltimore, Maryland, latent class analysis...
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Background Resilience is a commonly used construct in substance use and mental health research. Yet it is often narrowly defined by only its internal qualities (e.g., adaptability, hardiness) and overlooks its external qualities (e.g., supportive relationships, navigating one’s environment). Further, substance use is often viewed as antithetical to...
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Background Substance use treatment and harm reduction services are essential components of comprehensive strategies for reducing the harms of drug use and overdose. However, these services have been historically siloed, and there is a need to better understand how programs that serve people who use drugs (PWUD) are integrating these services. In th...
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Among women who exchange sex (WES), social cohesion is associated with multi-level HIV-risk reduction factors, and client condom coercion (CCC) is associated with increased HIV-risk. Sexual minority WES (SM-WES) face exacerbated HIV-risk, yet relevant research is scant. We examined the role of sexual orientation in the relationship between social c...
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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a vital component of comprehensive HIV prevention among female sex workers (FSW). There are limited PrEP interventions targeting FSW in the U.S., who have high HIV risk. Formative research was conducted to inform PEARL (Promoting Empowerment And Risk Reduction), a PrEP intervention for FSW in Baltimore, MD, includ...
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Drug criminalization creates significant barriers to prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and racial equity objectives, and removal of criminal penalties for drug possession is increasingly being endorsed by health and justice advocates. We present empirical data estimating the share of U.S. adults who support eliminating criminal pe...
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Background Drug overdose deaths remain the primary cause of unintentional injuries in the United States. We examined the validity of a fentanyl test strip (FTS) in detecting fentanyl and its related analogs in water-based illicit drug solutions. Methods Illicit drugs obtained from law enforcement (N=343) were tested using a lateral flow chromatogr...
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Despite growing availability, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and adherence remains suboptimal among female sex workers (FSW) in the United States. Using cross-sectional data from a survey of 236 street-based cisgender FSW in Baltimore, Maryland, we examined interest in event-driven and long-acting PrEP formulations. Latent class analysi...
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Intervetions are urgently needed to reduce the trajectory of the US opioid overdose epidemic, yet implementation is often hampered by resistance or opposition from key community stakeholders. While businesses are economically and physically impacted by the opioid epidemic, they are rarely engaged in efforts to reduce its impact. The establishment o...
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Background Population-based seroprevalence studies offer comprehensive characterization of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread, but barriers exist and marginalized populations may not be captured. We assessed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody seroprevalence among decedents in Maryland over 6 months in 2020...
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Background Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) are common among people who inject drugs and can result in severe health consequences, including infective endocarditis. Numerous barriers to accessing care often prevent people who inject drugs from seeking healthcare including past negative healthcare experiences, transportation, and shame around...
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We describe patterns of polysubstance use and associations with HIV risk-related behaviors among women engaged in street-based transactional sex, an understudied yet important population and area of research. This sample was restricted to cisgender women who reported drug use (n = 244) in the baseline of the longitudinal SAPPHIRE cohort study. Late...
Article
Drug overdose remains a leading cause of death in the US, and the majority of opioid overdose fatalities involve fentanyl. This study aims to measure the degree of concordance between self-reported and biologically tested exposure to fentanyl. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using survey and urinalysis data collected between 2019 and 2020 f...
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Introduction Naloxone distribution remains a cornerstone of a public health approach to combating the ongoing opioid overdose crisis. Most distribution programs focus on providing naloxone to individuals who use drugs or those closely associated with them (e.g., family). Utilizing businesses as fixed location sources of naloxone could be a valuable...
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People who inject drugs (PWID) play a critical role in injection-naïve individuals transitioning to injection drug use. We investigated factors associated with future likelihood of initiating injection-naïve individuals using multivariable logistic regression among 418 PWID in rural Appalachia (Cabell County, West Virginia). Less than 10% reported...
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Drug overdose remains a leading cause of death in the US, with growing rates attributable to illicit fentanyl use. Recent HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs (PWID) and service disruptions from COVID-19 have renewed concerns on HIV resurgence. We examined the relationship between fentanyl use and three injection-related HIV risk behaviors a...
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Background The role of business employees and community members in the HIV risk environment of female sex workers (FSW) is underexplored, despite sex work often located in commercial and residential urban areas. We explored the effect of negative interactions between business employees and community members on inconsistent condom use with clients o...
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Background People who use drugs (PWUD) must weigh complex legal scenarios when seeking help during overdose events. Good Samaritan laws (GSL) offer limited immunity for certain low-level drug crimes to encourage PWUD to call 911. Drug-induced homicide laws (DHL) allow for criminal prosecution of people delivering drugs that result in overdose death...
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Background Significant associations exist between psychological pain, unmet mental health need, and frequency and severity of substance use among people who use drugs (PWUD), but no studies have analyzed the relationship of these variables to non-fatal overdose. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional survey of people who used opioids non-medically...
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Background Drug overdoses surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the need for expanded and accessible substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Relatively little is known about the experiences of patients receiving treatment during the pandemic. Methods We worked with 21 harm reduction and drug treatment programs in nine states and the Di...
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The impact of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake on sexual and injection-related behaviors among women who inject drugs (WWID) is poorly understood. Over 24-weeks, PrEP uptake among WWID was associated with increased sharing of injection equipment but not syringes and no changes in condomless sex, providing limited evidence of risk compensation...
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Ensuring people who inject drugs (PWID) have ≥ 100% sterile syringe coverage (i.e., persons have access to a sterile syringe for all injections) is optimal for HIV prevention. Existing syringe coverage literature is informative, yet little work has examined syringe coverage among PWID in rural communities. Using data from a 2018 PWID population est...
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Female sex workers’ (FSWs) risk for HIV/STIs is influenced by their work environments. While previous research has characterized vulnerability in a single workplace, many FSWs solicit clients from multiple settings. Using latent class analysis (LCA), we examined client solicitation patterns and associated HIV/STI-related behaviors (consistent condo...
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Background Globally, most female sex workers (FSWs) are mothers but are rarely considered as such in public health and social service programs and research. We aimed to quantitatively describe FSWs who are mothers and to examine correlates of current engagement in sex work to support children among a cohort of FSWs in Baltimore, Maryland, United St...
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Objective More than one-half of women sex workers (sex workers) in the United States experience interpersonal violence, defined as physical or sexual violence, by sexual partners, including clients or intimate partners. Women experiencing interpersonal violence by intimate partners often choose hidden, woman-controlled contraception (e.g., intraute...
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Background The substance use epidemic in the United States continues to drive high levels of morbidity and mortality, particularly among people who inject drugs (PWID). Poor access to food often co-occurs with drug use and contributes to associated sequelae, such as risks for HIV and diabetes. The objective of this study was to examine factors asso...
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Background: Considering most people who inject drugs (PWID) received help with the first injection, understanding the perspective of potential 'initiators' is a priority to inform harm reduction interventions. This paper examines how PWID narrate their experiences with injection initiation and assistance from the lens of their lived experience and...
Article
Background Fentanyl test strip (FTS) programs are designed to promote fentanyl awareness and reduce overdose risk by providing people who use drugs (PWUD) with a method of testing drugs for the presence of fentanyl prior to use. In 2018, two large syringe services programs (SSP) in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic—one in Baltimore City, Maryland and one in th...
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Background Syringe services programs (SSPs) are evidence-based interventions that provide essential overdose and infectious disease prevention resources to people who inject drugs (PWID). Little research has examined factors associated with sterile syringe acquisition at SSPs among rural PWID populations. Objectives We aim to identify factors asso...
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Background: Buprenorphine is an effective treatment for opioid use disorder, yet some persons are concerned with its "alternative use" (i.e., any use unintended by the prescriber). There is limited evidence on the factors associated with alternative use of buprenorphine (AUB); in this study, we examined correlates of recent (past 6 months) AUB. Met...
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Background Immediately after experiencing a non-fatal overdose, many people who inject drugs (PWID) engage in harm-minimizing behavior change, including engagement in drug treatment. To inform the implementation of tailored interventions designed to facilitate drug treatment engagement in rural communities, we sought to identify correlates of start...
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Introduction In 2018, the Baltimore City Health Department launched a mobile clinic called Healthcare on The Spot, which offers low-threshold buprenorphine services integrated with health care services to meet the needs of people who use drugs. In addition to buprenorphine management, The Spot offers testing and treatment for hepatitis C, sexually...
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Initiation of non-medical prescription opioid use (NMPO) during early adolescence is tightly linked to heroin and other drug use disorders and related sequelae in later adolescence and young adulthood. Few studies explore stakeholders’ perspectives on the burden and determinants of youth opioid use and barriers and facilitators to engaging youth in...
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Objective To evaluate racial (Black/White) differences in overdose response training and take-home naloxone (THN) possession and administration among clients and nonclients of the Baltimore syringe service program (SSP). Methods The study derived data from a cross-sectional survey of 263 (183 SSP clients, 80 nonclients) people who inject drugs (PW...
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Background Naloxone distribution programs have been a cornerstone of the public health response to the overdose crisis in the USA. Yet people who use opioids (PWUO) continue to face a number of barriers accessing naloxone, including not knowing where it is available. Methods We used data from 173 PWUO from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which is l...
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IMPACT: This work will inform the need for more trauma-informed approaches to violence screenings among marginalized populations by health care providers. OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Female sex workers (FSW) experience high rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) which may have negative reproductive health consequences. Routine IPV screening by healthcare p...
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Objectives: To elucidate the main latent classes of substances detected among overdose decedents, and latent class associations with age, sex, race, and jurisdiction of death in Maryland. Methods: We used toxicology data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland for all decedents. We analyzed all cases of drug overdose deaths tha...
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Background: Female sex workers (FSW) have elevated rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) including HIV, yet few studies in the US have characterized the STI burden in this population. Methods: Data were derived from the EMERALD study, a structural community-based intervention with FSW in Baltimore, MD. Participants (n=385) were recruite...
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Aim Experiencing a nonfatal overdose (NFOD) is a significant risk factor for a subsequent nonfatal or fatal overdose. Overdose mortality rates in rural Appalachian states are some of the highest in the USA, but little is known about correlates of overdose among rural populations of people who inject drugs (PWID). Our study aimed to identify correla...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. The substance use epidemic in the United States continues to drive high levels of morbidity and mortality, particularly among people who inject drugs (PWID). Poor access to food co-occurs with illicit drug use and contributes to associated sequelae, such as HIV and diabetes. The objective of this study was to examine factors associated...
Article
Background U.S. research examining the illicit drug supply remains rare even though the information could help reduce overdoses. Relatively little is known regarding how often opioids are found in stimulants and whether temporal and geographic trends exist. We examined trends in fentanyl-cocaine and fentanyl-methamphetamine combinations in the nati...
Article
Cisgender female sex workers (FSW) have low rates of health care utilization and persistent health disparities. The study uses baseline data from a structural intervention to understand health care access with cisgender FSW with substance use histories (N=370) in Baltimore, Maryland. The four outcome categories measuring health care access in the p...
Article
Background: U.S. research examining the illicit drug supply remains rare even though the information could help reduce overdoses. Relatively little is known regarding how often opioids are found in stimulants and whether temporal and geographic trends exist. We examined trends in fentanyl-cocaine and fentanyl-methamphetamine combinations in the nat...
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Introduction Policing strategies to deter illegal gun carrying by high-risk people are associated with reductions in gun violence. Many factors influence decisions to use or carry a gun in public, but it is unclear whether perceptions of the criminal justice system’s response influence those decisions. Methods We used a 2016 cross-sectional survey...
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Driven largely by the unequal distribution of power, female sex workers (FSW) globally bear a disproportionately high burden of HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and interpersonal violence. Prior literature has identified a number of multi-level factors that may serve to constrain FSWs’ agency, or their ability to define and take action to real...
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We conducted the first scoping literature review on ART uptake and adherence among Female Sex Workers (FSW), following PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Searches were conducted in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and Sociological Abstracts. Eligibility criteria included: reporting an ART uptake or adherence result among FSW aged 18 or older; peer-reviewed; p...
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Introduction Resilience represents adaptability and empowerment and can buffer against the consequences of traumatic events. Cisgender and transgender women in street-based sex work are at high risk for trauma, yet data on their resilience are sparse. A clearer understanding of resilience and its correlates is useful for informing sex worker-center...
Article
Little is known about the organisation and types of sex work emerging urban Latino immigrant communities. To develop a typology of the local sex work industry, we conducted 39 in-depth interviews with foreign-born and US-born Latina female sex workers, Latino immigrant clients, and key informants such as bartenders and brothel managers in Baltimore...
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Background Opioid overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyl, remain a substantial public health concern in North America. Responses to overdose events (e.g., administration of naloxone and rescue breathing) are effective at reducing mortality; however, more interventions are needed to prevent overdose...
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Objective Gender-based violence threatens women’s health and safety. Female sex workers (FSWs) experience violence disproportionately, yet prospective data on violence predictors is lacking. In the first US-based prospective FSW cohort study, we examine incidence rates (IRs) and predictors of violence from distinct perpetrators: paying clients, non...
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Objective To investigate correlates of restless sleep among street-based female sex workers (FSW) in the United States, an understudied population experiencing high rates of structural vulnerabilities (eg, homelessness, food insecurity) and trauma. Methods Using data from a cohort of street-based cisgender FSW (n = 236; median age = 35 years, 68%...
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Objective: The opioid crisis has increased risks for injection drug use (IDU)-associated HIV outbreaks throughout the United States. Polysubstance use and syringe sharing are common among rural people who inject drugs (PWID). However, little is known about how polysubstance IDU affects engagement in HIV prevention efforts among non-urban PWID. Thi...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Cisgender female sex workers (FSW) experience high rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including chlamydia and gonorrhea. Community empowerment-based responses to the risk environment of female sex workers have been associated with significant reductions in HIV/STI risk and associated risk behaviors, yet evaluations o...
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Full-text available
Background Cisgender female sex workers (FSWs) experience high rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia and gonorrhea. Community empowerment–based responses to the risk environment of FSWs have been associated with significant reductions in HIV and STI risk and associated risk behaviors; however, evaluations of U...
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Background Street-based female sex workers (FSW) often cycle in and out of sex work engagement. For many FSW, substance use plays a critical role in sex work entry, continuation, and interruptions. We examined individual, interpersonal, and structural correlates of short-term interruptions of sex work among street-based FSW in an urban environment....
Article
Background In Baltimore, the emergence of fentanyl and its analogues exacerbated an existing heroin crisis and increased uncertainty about drug composition and potency. In an effort to reduce overdoses, harm reduction organizations and health departments across the U.S. began distributing fentanyl test strips, a low barrier, inexpensive drug checki...
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Full-text available
Injection drug use-associated HIV outbreaks have occurred in rural communities throughout the United States, which often have limited HIV prevention services for people who inject drugs (PWID). Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is one tool that may help fill gaps in HIV prevention programing in rural settings. Oral PrEP has been approved for use, and...
Article
Introduction: The sex work environment influences sex workers' control over enforcing condom use. Sex work in outdoor and public spaces, compared to indoor spaces, may inhibit condom negotiation. We examined longitudinal associations between public place of sex work and condom coercion among female sex workers (FSW). Methods: This cohort study i...