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Assesment of risk factors, needs and challenges faced by Female Injecting Drug Users in North Eastern states of India
Background: According to UNAIDS estimate, more than 2/3rd of 2.4 million adult females living with HIV in Asia were in India at the end of 2005. Again, by NACO’s estimate 39% of total 2.8 million PLHIV were females. Method: A total of thirty in-depth interviews were conducted with the female injecting drug users, living in five districts of Mizoram and fifty in depth interviews of FIDUs residing in seven districts of Manipur. The respondents were selected from drop in centers (DIC) using purposive sampling method. The checklist mainly focused on four important issues socio-economic context, Drug and alcohol use, unmet needs, risk & challenges. The interviews were recorded by taking respondent’s consent and Thematic content analysis was undertaken. Result: Women drug users were relatively more vulnerable and face higher risks of disease, stigma, self- discrimination and violence from the community than male drug users. Food, shelter, financial independence and provision of reproductive & health services emerged as a basic need among the women drug users. Reported evidence suggests that lot many barriers; structural and individual exist that inhibits the women from accessing the services provided by Government. Conclusion: Given the special needs and concern of women entering drug treatment and safety issues there is need to provide sensitive female centric services specially outreach services/mobile services to address different issues including treatment, counseling, health education to make it accessible.