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Background. We tested an original, woman-focused intervention, based on body empowerment, and female-initiated barrier methods, including the female condom (FC) and cervical barriers. Methods. Eligible women were >= 18 years of age, HIV seronegative, and active drug users, reporting 30% or greater unprotected sex acts. Both controls (C) and intervention (I) participants received enhanced HIV/STI harm reduction counseling. I participants underwent 5 additional weekly group sessions. We compared change in frequency of unprotected vaginal intercourse across arms at 12 months. Results. Among 198 enrolled women, over 95% completed followup. Two-thirds were African-American; most of them used crack, had a primary partner, and reported sex exchange. In paired t-tests from baseline to followup, the frequency of unprotected vaginal sex dropped significantly for I (primary P < 0.00, nonprimary P < 0.002) and C (primary P < 0.008, nonprimary P < 0.000) arms with all partners. The difference in change across arms was of borderline significance for primary partner (P = 0.075); no difference was seen for nonprimary partner (P = 0.8). Use of male condom and FC increased with both partner types over time, but more consistently among I women. Conclusion: The ?value-added? impact of the intervention was observed mainly with primary partners. Body knowledge with routine FC counseling should be incorporated into interventions for drug-using women.

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ISRN Addiction





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