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Type of submission: Oral
Conference track: Practice
Topics: Community Mobilisation and Organising; Harm Reduction Services and Service Provision
Presenting author: Emma Roberts
Issue: In January 2015, news of an HIV affecting the small rural community in of Austin, Indiana started to emerge. Of the 190 people infected so far, 80% are also co-infected with Hepatitis C. Austin, located 30 miles from Louisville, Kentucky saw a response that has galvanized communities across the mid-west facing similar circumstances to consider harm reduction in a new way. Since then syringe access programs have been developed in, previously, very conservative areas that never thought or acknowledged their need for services including Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Ohio.
Setting: Rural communities in the US mid-west.
Project: In May 2015, the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, approved syringe access for the state after stalling for 5 months. Since then, Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) has been at the forefront of supporting impacted communities in the development of Syringe Access Services (SAS) through the provision of technical assistance related to strategic planning and cultural competency for engaging People Who Use Drugs into services.
Outcome: Since May 2015, SAS have opened or are about to open across these states. In Louisville, KY and Huntington, WV, both received comprehensive training and TA packages provided by HRC and saw 3600 and 1900 syringe access participants (respectively) in their first year of operation.
This presentation will provide participants with an overview of the background to the outbreak and the community mobilization strategic planning tools, training and technical assistance provided to support the development of appropriate cultural competency and best practice among staff, agencies and communities new to harm reduction. Attendee’s will be provided with resources they can take back and apply to their communities, whether new or seasoned in harm reduction, to establish, evaluate and expand services to people who use drugs in a way that genuinely applies the principles of harm reduction.