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C27. Avoiding and Caring for Street Wounds. A Community Intervention for Female Sex Workers Who Inject Drugs and Have Unstable Housing

About The Event

  • Cost: Free
  • Total Slot: 0
  • Booked Slot: 0

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Learner category:

  • Novice Level

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe three essential components of the prevention of soft tissue traumas
    for those who inject drugs and are experiencing unstable housing
  • Participants will be able to state three harm reduction measures to be used for treatment of soft
    tissue traumas from injecting drug use experienced by those with unstable housing.


Problem: There is a lack of knowledge of prevention and treatment of soft tissue trauma (STT) and abscesses among women who engage in sex work, inject drugs, and have unstable housing.
Evidence Appraisal: Female sex workers who inject drugs and have unstable housing have increased risks for STT. Women tend to have more difficulty injecting due to smaller veins, are often injected by others, or use after another person, and this increases their risk of STT and abscesses.
Implementation Strategies: In-person presentations with question and answer sessions were performed at two weekly group meetings of 77-100 women who engage in sex work and inject drugs. Vein care, safer injection sites, risk factors for STT, prevention and early intervention measures of STT, and when to seek medical care rather than perform self-care for their wounds were taught to the women. Also discussed were outcomes of complications of untreated or inadequately treated STT and abscesses.
Evaluation: The women were aware of single-use syringe and to not share materials but were unaware of site selection, use of alcohol before injection, and there was a great deal of misinformation about preventing and treating STT. Harm reduction measures and home treatment of wounds were the focus of the questions asked by the women.
Lessons Learned: Engagement in educating at-risk women includes discoursing about less than preferred treatment. The use of peer-to-peer information and correction of misinformation must be ongoing and tailored to each woman’s situation.


Kimberly Dion PhD, RN, CNE, CARN is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing. Her research focuses on persons with a substance use disorder, a population she has worked with for 20 years. She is a harm reductionist and certified naloxone train the trainer for Massachusetts. She performs educational sessions on reducing stigma toward those with substance use disorder, harm reduction practice, and recognition of an opioid overdose.

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Kimberly Dion
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