Jewelry-making program empowers participants, reduces HIV risk

December 01, 2005

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a new way to address HIV and sexual risk taking among drug-using women involved in prostitution. The Jewelry Education for Women Empowering their Lives (JEWEL) program introduced 55 drug-using women to HIV risk prevention and the making, marketing and selling of beaded jewelry. After participating in the program, the women reduced their number of sex partners, spent less on drugs daily and decreased crack use. The study is published in the January 2006 issue of AIDS Care.

"Because so much of women drug users' HIV risks are economically motivated, providing them with licit options for income effectively reduces their risk," said Susan G. Sherman, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For this pilot study, the authors targeted women using illegal drugs who were involved in prostitution in Baltimore, Md. They implemented six two-hour sessions to teach not only HIV-prevention risk reduction but also the making, marketing and selling of jewelry. The women sold the handmade jewelry at 11 public sales and earned more than $7,000.

Three months after participating in the study, the women reported a 29 percent reduction in receiving drugs or money for sex and a 33 percent reduction in the number of sex -trade partners per month. The study authors also noticed a reduction in the amount of money spent on drugs each day and a decrease in daily crack usage.

"This program didn't just reduce HIV risk; it increased the women's self esteem. Most of them have been selling themselves for so long, and giving them the opportunity to sell a beautiful product that other people appreciate really had an impact on their self value as well. This program is a novel approach to self empowerment and HIV-prevention," said Sherman.

The effects of JEWEL continued past the end of the one-year pilot study. The most prolific jewelry-maker in the program continued not only making jewelry but teaching other at-risk women. She and Sherman are in the process of establishing a nonprofit group called GEMS of Hope. The study authors said they hope to conduct a larger, follow-up study of women who use crack in Baltimore, Md.

"The evaluation of the JEWEL project: An innovative economic enhancement and HIV-prevention intervention study targeting drug-using women involved in prostitution" was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Additional co-authors of the study are Danielle German, Yingkai Cheng, Morgan Marks and Marie Bailey-Kloche.

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Related HIV Articles from Brightsurf:

BEAT-HIV Delaney collaboratory issues recommendations measuring persistent HIV reservoirs
Spearheaded by Wistar scientists, top worldwide HIV researchers from the BEAT-HIV Martin Delaney Collaboratory to Cure HIV-1 Infection by Combination Immunotherapy (BEAT-HIV Collaboratory) compiled the first comprehensive set of recommendations on how to best measure the size of persistent HIV reservoirs during cure-directed clinical studies.

The Lancet HIV: Study suggests a second patient has been cured of HIV
A study of the second HIV patient to undergo successful stem cell transplantation from donors with a HIV-resistant gene, finds that there was no active viral infection in the patient's blood 30 months after they stopped anti-retroviral therapy, according to a case report published in The Lancet HIV journal and presented at CROI (Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections).

Children with HIV score below HIV-negative peers in cognitive, motor function tests
Children who acquired HIV in utero or during birth or breastfeeding did not perform as well as their peers who do not have HIV on tests measuring cognitive ability, motor function and attention, according to a report published online today in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Efforts to end the HIV epidemic must not ignore people already living with HIV
Efforts to prevent new HIV transmissions in the US must be accompanied by addressing HIV-associated comorbidities to improve the health of people already living with HIV, NIH experts assert in the third of a series of JAMA commentaries.

The Lancet HIV: Severe anti-LGBT legislations associated with lower testing and awareness of HIV in African countries
This first systematic review to investigate HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression in men who have sex with men in Africa finds that among the most recent studies (conducted after 2011) only half of men have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months.

The Lancet HIV: Tenfold increase in number of adolescents on HIV treatment in South Africa since 2010, but many still untreated
A new study of more than 700,000 one to 19-year olds being treated for HIV infection suggests a ten-fold increase in the number of adolescents aged 15 to 19 receiving HIV treatment in South Africa, according to results published in The Lancet HIV journal.

Starting HIV treatment in ERs may be key to ending HIV spread worldwide
In a follow-up study conducted in South Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.

NIH HIV experts prioritize research to achieve sustained ART-free HIV remission
Achieving sustained remission of HIV without life-long antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a top HIV research priority, according to a new commentary in JAMA by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet HIV: PrEP implementation is associated with a rapid decline in new HIV infections
Study from Australia is the first to evaluate a population-level roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men who have sex with men.

Researchers date 'hibernating' HIV strains, advancing BC's leadership in HIV cure research
Researchers have developed a novel way for dating 'hibernating' HIV strains, in an advancement for HIV cure research.

Read More: HIV News and HIV Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to