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This qualitative study describes social support that female sex workers who inject drugs FSW-IDUs receive and recovery efforts in the context of relationships with family and intimate partners. FSW-IDUs received instrumental and emotional social support, which positively and negatively influenced recovery efforts.
Participants reported how some intimate partners provided conflicting positive and negative support during recovery attempts. Problematic support i. Mexican drug treatment programs should consider addressing social support in recovery curricula through evidence-based interventions that engage intimate partners, children and family to better reflect socio-cultural and contextual determinants of substance abuse. Data on sources and types of social support FSW-IDUs receive from family members and intimate partners and their impact on substance use and recovery can inform tailored addiction recovery and risk reduction interventions, including network based interventions Syvertsen et al.
Such data are particularly needed in resource-constrained settings such as Mexico, where research on FSW-IDUs, a hard-to-reach, marginalized, and isolated population, is limited. For example, among drug using women living in U. Gender-based differences in access to social support exist among drug users. Among male and female heroin users, treatment outcomes are more favorable among women whose intimate partners support their entry into treatment Riehman et al. Lack of or negative social support has yielded unsuccessful recovery outcomes e.
Analyzing sources and consequences of positive, negative, and problematic social support is critical, as risky health behaviors e. In the U. Tijuana is home to 1. Sex work may take a variety of forms e. Sex workers experience varying levels of autonomy and power, victimization, and marginalization within their communities Weitzer, These situations have important implications for illicit drug use and engagement in HIV risk behaviors and infection.
In addition, sex work is quasi-regulated in some communities, leading to the existence of well-established red light districts Sirotin et al. Initiation of sex work previous to injection drug use, or vice versa, varies among FSW-IDUs, and thus women may present different risk profiles Morris et al.