Stigma is preventing women who inject drugs from accessing healthcare

A survey of 232 women who inject drugs found four in five had experienced stigma in the past year, and three in four said health workers had treated them negatively because of their injecting drug use. Most of the women had adopted strategies to avoid stigma, such as not disclosing their drug use to a health worker, missing follow-up appointments, or putting off accessing healthcare. The women with least access to healthcare were those who reported lower levels of personal wellbeing, who had experienced poorer treatment by health workers, who had engaged in greater past month injecting, and those who were employed and identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ). The researchers say stigma has concerning healthcare implications for women who inject drugs.


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