Category: Articles

How The Cedar Project is using mobile phones to engage young Indigenous people who use drugs in HIV prevention and treatment

By Kate Jongbloed

Members of the Cedar Project Partnership in March 2015.

Members of the Cedar Project Partnership in March 2015.

 

How’s it going?

These three little words have tremendous power. Sent as a simple text message, it creates an opportunity for dialogue between a case manager and a person seeking health care.

It is the power of those three words that drives a new mobile phone program in B.C. that connects young Indigenous people living with or vulnerable to HIV with much-needed care and services.

HIV disclosure is more than a one-time conversation

By Erin Seatter

Erin Setter Decades after the emergence of HIV, disclosure remains one of the biggest challenges for women living with HIV. There’s nothing easy or straightforward about it. When thinking about whether to tell someone about their HIV-positive status, women must consider a range of possible results, for themselves as well as their families.

Some women find that disclosure can help bring peace of mind, with more freedom from fear and stress. Being able to talk honestly about their health and get day-to-day support can be a relief. Very close relationships involve sharing, vulnerability and listening, and sometimes women find that disclosure leads to more open discussions, tighter connections and stronger intimacy.

Six ways to make harm reduction work in Canada’s prisons

By Emily van der Meulen and Sandra Ka Hon Chuemily

sandraIn Canada today, prisoners who inject drugs need to share needles, many of which have been used numerous times by other prisoners. Without access to sterile injection equipment, rates of HIV and hepatitis C virus are much higher behind bars than in the broader community. Prison-based needle and syringe programs (PNSPs) are an important way to address this public health problem, yet Canadian correctional authorities often claim they won’t work. A recent study demonstrates that PNSPs are indisputably feasible in Canada and should be implemented now.

A new report, On Point: Recommendations for Prison-Based Needle and Syringe Programs in Canada, outlines the findings of a two-year study that involved consultation with a range of diverse stakeholders, including former prisoners themselves. The research was conducted by representatives from the Department of Criminology at Ryerson University, PASAN (a community-based AIDS service organization that provides community development, education, and support to prisoners and ex-prisoners in Ontario), and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (one of the world’s leading organizations tackling the legal and human rights issues related to HIV).

Are we doing enough to help people make the best treatment and prevention decisions?

By Bob Leahy

2015 03 30 - Bob LeahyIn an era where sometimes difficult, science-based decisions are routinely required of both positive and negative individuals− think when to start treatment, or the relative benefits of PrEP vs condoms− are we doing enough to steer people away from bad decisions?

First we need to acknowledge that even in a non-judgmental environment such as ours, some decisions just aren’t wise. Charlie Sheen and the allure of the goat’s milk cure proved that quite publicly. So did this Facebook commenter opining recently when to start treatment: “It’s best to wait until there is a patch, a spray or a cure.” In fact I suspect there is a fairly large faction (I call them “treatment denialists” ) who aren’t persuaded by START that early treatment works best. Or by PARTNER that it can all but eliminate the risk of transmission.

Supervised injection in Toronto will improve the health of people who inject drugs

By Drs. Ahmed Bayoumi and Carol Strike

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Over the past year, advocates or elected officials in Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria, Baltimore, New York City, Ithaca (NY), Seattle, San Francisco, Glasgow and four cities in Ireland have called  for the implementation of supervised injection services. More recently, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown recommended that the Board of Health start a community consultation process toward establishing supervised injection services within three existing facilities in the city. The Board voted unanimously in favour.  As the lead investigators of the TOSCA study  (the Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment), we support Dr. McKeown’s proposal and look forward to the opening of these services in Toronto.