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AIDS Care. 2006 Jan;18(1):1-11.

The evaluation of the JEWEL project: an innovative economic enhancement and HIV prevention intervention study targeting drug using women involved in prostitution.

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  • 1Department of epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The JEWEL (Jewellery Education for Women Empowering Their Lives) pilot study examined the efficacy of an economic empowerment and HIV prevention intervention targeting illicit drug-using women (n=50) who were involved in prostitution in Baltimore, Maryland. The intervention was comprised of six 2-hour sessions that taught HIV prevention risk reduction and the making, marketing and selling of jewellery. Bivariate comparisons examined behaviour change pre- and 3-months post-intervention. The intervention's effect on the change in the number of sex trade partners from baseline to follow-up was explored with multiple linear regression. Participants were 62.0% African American, 5.0% were currently employed, and the median age was 39 years old (Inter Quartile Range [IQR]: 34-45). Women attended an average of six (IQR: 4.5-6.0) sessions. The women sold over $7,000 worth of jewellery in eleven sales. In comparing self-reported risk behaviours pre and 3-month post intervention participation, we found significant reductions in: receiving drugs or money for sex (100% versus 71.0%, p<0.0005); the median number of sex trade partners per month (9 versus 3, p=0.02); daily drug use (76.0% vs. 55.0%, p=0.003); the amount of money spent on drugs daily (US$52.57 versus US$46.71, p = 0.01); and daily crack use (27.3% versus 13.1.0%, p = 0.014). In the presence of other variables in a multivariate linear model, income from the jewelry sale was associated with a reduction in the number of sex trade partners at follow-up. The pilot indicated effectiveness of a novel, HIV prevention, economic enhancement intervention upon HIV sexual risk behaviours and drug utilization patterns.

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