Author: CATIE

Building bridges over blood policies

“Blood. It’s in you to give.” Or so the old slogan from Canadian Blood Services (CBS)* would have you believe. Of course, they have a long history of filtering who gets to give. Currently, there are many Canadians who want to give but cannot, including all HIV-negative cisgender men who’ve had sex with another man in the past three months. This includes men who are in monogamous relationships, always use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), always use condoms during sex, and who have oral but not anal sex. This policy has long been viewed as homophobic by many community members and community-based...

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The fight for supervised consumption sites to remain open in Alberta

Just like across Canada, the number of overdoses continues to climb in Alberta because of a toxic drug supply, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic that has interrupted the supply of drugs. In Alberta, drug toxicity deaths have been devastating to people with lived or living experience of substance use, as well as their friends and families. In the province alone, we have seen 1,334 fatal overdoses in 2020. We mourn each person lost.

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Splitting and sharing at overdose prevention and supervised consumption sites: What we learned

In 2020, Health Canada started to hold consultation meetings with key stakeholders to review federal regulations governing overdose prevention sites (OPS) and supervised consumption sites (SCS). While multiple recommendations and suggestions were brought forward, one that was repeatedly identified by people who use drugs and other stakeholders as being of top concern was the inability to split and share drugs within OPS/SCS settings.

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Moving beyond risk-based testing: Checklist for supporting hepatitis C birth cohort screening

British Columbia is the first province or territory in Canada to recommend one-time birth cohort screening for hepatitis C among people born from 1945 to 1965. This birth cohort has been identified as a key population that needs to be engaged into hepatitis C virus (HCV) care to reduce liver disease complications for several reasons: there are many undiagnosed cases of hepatitis C, they account for nearly 60% of positive hepatitis C results in B.C., and many people in this cohort have not received confirmatory HCV RNA testing.

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Talking about hepatitis C with immigrants and newcomers to Canada

In Canada, one in three people affected by hepatitis C was born outside of the country. Hepatitis C prevalence among Canadian immigrants and newcomers is double the overall Canadian prevalence. Research also shows that immigrants and newcomers experience worse health outcomes from viral hepatitis and liver cancer when compared to the Canadian-born population, including higher rates of hepatocellular carcinoma and mortality rates from viral hepatitis and liver cancer that are two to four times higher. Talking to Canadian immigrants about hepatitis C becomes very important given the fact that they are a population at risk of disease.

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Holding governments accountable: Canada’s progress on viral hepatitis elimination

In May 2021, Action Hepatitis Canada (AHC) released its Progress Toward Viral Hepatitis Elimination in Canada 2021 Report. Five years earlier, in May 2016, Canada had signed on to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first-ever Global Viral Hepatitis Strategy with the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. With both a cure for hepatitis C (HCV) and a vaccine for hepatitis B (HBV), this seemed to be a very realistic goal within a reasonable timeframe. But five years on, we had important questions about how Canada was really doing as time was ticking on.

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