Exploring Safer and Unsafe Drug Use and Sexual Practices Among Female Injection Drug Users Living in Small Towns / Rural Communities, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
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The purpose of this qualitative research study was to understand the facilitators and/or barriers to safer drug use and sexual practices among a sample of young female injection drug users (IDUs) who live in small towns/rural communities in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. This study examined how economic status, relationships, social roles, small town/rural living, and stigma function as facilitators and/or barriers to safer practices. Eight female IDUs aged 20-31, living in small towns/rural communities in Cape Breton, engaged in face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. The women described what day-to-day life is like for female IDUs living in small towns/rural communities. They spoke about managing drug addiction, their understanding of safer and unsafe injection drug use and risky and safer sexual practices, as well as their experiences with services/supports. The information obtained from this study will help to inform harm reduction policy and program initiatives.