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BMC Public Health. 2011 Aug 12;11:643. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-643.

Homelessness among a cohort of women in street-based sex work: the need for safer environment interventions.

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  • 1British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St, Paul's Hospital, 608-1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1Y6, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Drawing on data from a community-based prospective cohort study in Vancouver, Canada, we examined the prevalence and individual, interpersonal and work environment correlates of homelessness among 252 women in street-based sex work.

METHODS:

Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression using generalized estimating equations (GEE) was used to examine the individual, interpersonal and work environment factors that were associated with homelessness among street-based sex workers.

RESULTS:

Among 252 women, 43.3% reported homelessness over an 18-month follow-up period. In the multivariable GEE logistic regression analysis, younger age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.93; 95%confidence interval [95%CI] 0.93-0.98), sexual violence by non-commercial partners (aOR = 2.14; 95%CI 1.06-4.34), servicing a higher number of clients (10+ per week vs < 10) (aOR = 1.68; 95%CI 1.05-2.69), intensive, daily crack use (aOR = 1.65; 95%CI 1.11-2.45), and servicing clients in public spaces (aOR = 1.52; CI 1.00-2.31) were independently associated with sleeping on the street.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings indicate a critical need for safer environment interventions that mitigate the social and physical risks faced by homeless FSWs and increase access to safe, secure housing for women.

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