Experiences with and perceptions of, barriers to substance abuse and HIV services among African American women who use crack cocaine.J Ethn Subst Abuse. 2005; 4(1):53-75.JE
Significant health disparities in the rates of HIV infection exist that primarily impact African American women. While research has demonstrated that HIV is preventable through changes in high-risk behaviors facilitated by substance abuse treatment, an individual must first be able to access and engage with treatment to derive any benefit from these services. While there is some research that identifies barriers to treatment access and engagement for African American women who use crack cocaine, these barriers require further examination. Current literature has focused primarily on internal motivation and treatment readiness without placing these concepts within the unique environmental context of social stressors for crack cocaine-using African American women. This study presents the results of eleven focus groups with eighty-nine African American women in which respondents document the HIV risk behaviors of crack cocaine users, present their experiences in accessing substance abuse and HIV services, and documents their perceptions of barriers and services needs. The results of this study may further develop an understanding of the means by which individual service users experience their relationships with service providers and the factors that affect these relationships in order to better target potential interventions to reduce the spread of HIV.