Joanne Lush, AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care Maria Hatzipantelis, Ontario HIV Treatment Network

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1 OHTN Research Conference, Nov 11-13, 2012 Joanne Lush, AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care Maria Hatzipantelis, Ontario HIV Treatment Network

2 Evaluation background Evaluation purpose Methods Preliminary Findings How does the IDU outreach program impact the lives of people who access services?

3 In Sept the AIDS Bureau recognized the need to find a practical intervention to assist in preventing an outbreak of HIV in the injection drug using community in Ontario AIDS Bureau developed 15 injection drug use (IDU) outreach worker positions across Ontario To date, there are 20 IDU outreach program sites 19 sites invited to participate in the evaluation

4 To identify the outcomes of the IDU outreach program and areas to be strengthened or changed Evaluation guided by a community advisory committee staff from program sites, provincial harm reduction agency, OHTN staff, AIDS Bureau

5 64 people who access IDU outreach services were recruited at 15 program sites Semi-structured Interviews In-person At a safe space chosen by each program site Participants received a $20 honorarium

6 Safer injection supplies (kits, sharps container) Safer inhalation supplies Condoms Food & water Clothing & hygiene products Transportation tickets

7 Safer injecting practices & injection sites Abscess treatment Drug use information HIV, Hep C & testing Preventing violence against sex workers

8 Outreach workers provide valuable personal support The outreach program: is accessible keeps communities safe improves clients self-esteem reduces use of injection drugs prevents disease, saves lives

9 With life problems relationships, trouble with family, relapsing, staying clean, being stressed out, nightmares. If there is outreach workers, there is human contact. They will help you get better or feel better at least. They can help you change if you want it.

10 If I am having a rough day they get me through. Being able to talk to them. Shit doesn t go your way. Just having them confirm and acknowledge my feelings that it is okay. You are ok. It is okay to feel how you are feeling. You are going to make it through. It is okay. Acknowledgement goes a long.

11 It has impacted me by trust. I wouldn t be doing this if I didn t trust these people I was always given dignity when I talked to these outreach workers and if it wasn t for that I wouldn t be here. Respect and being solid.

12 "It is handier. They [outreach] come to me and then I have people come to me to get stuff off of us. And then they bring their used needle to us and we hand them in to the van. With my age getting on, in the winter, with the snow, I wouldn t be able to go in and get supplies. I don t have a vehicle and no bus tickets. With my disability it is hard for me to get out and get around so it is handy for them to come to me.

13 Some people say the van is a bad thing - But look at how many dirty needles they don t have to pick up from their front lawns. Safety to the community, not needles everywhere There is always a spot to get rid of them not in an alley, not in the sewer.

14 I have changed my view from looking at myself as someone who doesn t have anything to contribute or isn t worth anything. I see myself as someone who can put back into the community and can contribute to the community. I can look for jobs, I can find a job and contribute; even with my drug use I can still do things. It has given me back my life.

15 I am off the needles now. I wouldn t have been able to do that as fast and as healthy without the program. I would probably be struggling.

16 I use a clean one every time and people who use at my house do as well. But their probability of getting Hep C and AIDS from injecting is nil. That is how it is mostly transferred in our little sub-culture. It is common sense. It is working. It is preventing disease. People don t need to do stupid shit. You don t have to share rigs. You don t have to use a puddle.

17 Made me a lot more aware and provided me the equipment to do things safely after that it is up to me to do it. A good step in the right direction - ability to avoid disease saves a huge amount of people from AIDS even if you save a few cases a year it will save a huge amount of money.

18 If it wasn t for the outreach program I truly believe they are the reason I am not infected. I don t know if I wouldn t be if it wasn t around. I would be infected because I would use what is available and if clean rigs weren t, then I would reuse. I don t have to now. I have that option, I have that choice.

19 In collaboration with the advisory committee: Complete the evaluation report Develop recommendations for IDU Outreach Program Guidelines Identify knowledge translation & exchange opportunities Facilitate dialogue with program sites about moving evaluation findings into actions

20 Thank you to all the people who spoke with us. Thank you to the Community Advisory Committee: Anne Christie-Teeter (Somerset West CHC, Ottawa) Jason Altenberg (South Riverdale CHC, Toronto) Nick Boyce (Ontario HIV & Substance Use Training Program) Rhonda Thompson (AIDS Niagara, St. Catherines) Shaun Hopkins (The Works, Toronto Public Health) Sheila Coad (formerly RHAC, London) Staff support Charles Shamess, Maria Hatzipantelis, Ayden Scheim, Jason Globerman For more information contact: Joanne Lush Maria Hatzipantelis

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