The rate of women entering the criminal justice system, particularly from drug-related crimes, is increasing. This study examined the characteristics and HIV risk behaviors of drug-using women arrestees in 13 California counties (N=532). The injecting drug users (IDUs) (18%) were compared with the noninjecting drug users. The IDUs were older, more often White than African American, and were more likely to have a history of STDs, previous arrest, and polydrug use. Although the IDUs were at higher risk for HIV from their injection drug use and greater involvement in sex work, a substantial number of non-IDUs also engaged in high-risk sexual behaviors. Only a small percentage of the women sampled tested positive for HIV antibodies, however, the generally high-risk profile of this sample of drug-using women arrestees suggests that they would benefit from interventions that link them with needed treatment and services.
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