Background:: Alternative female‐initiated barrier methods, such as the female condom, are needed among women exchanging street sex to enhance their ability to protect themselves from HIV and STD infection.
Objective:: To describe predictors of female condom use among 96 women exchanging sex for money and drugs on the streets of New York City.
Study Design:: A total of 113 sex workers received a baseline interview, a demonstration on proper female condom use, and 10 female condoms. A total of 101 sex workers received a followed‐up evaluation at 2 weeks, of which 96 were included in data analysis. Predictors of condom use were analyzed for (1) any type of use; and (2) use with commercial partners.
Results:: The strongest predictors of female condom use among this sample of sex workers were (1) living with someone with a drug or alcohol problem; (2) having heard of the female condom; and (3) homelessness. Current physical or sexual abuse by a commercial partner and marriage decreased the probability of female condom use.
Conclusions:: Female condom distribution encouraged sex workers who may be most vulnerable or who reported characteristics or behaviors associated with the highest sexually transmitted disease and HIV risk to try female condoms with commercial partners. Implications for intervention development include the need to develop innovative programs provided on the street (e.g., through peers) that can access homeless, drug‐using sex workers in the most at‐risk environments.