November 29th, 2013
People who use drugs are at greater risk for contracting HIV. This is mainly through using shared drug paraphernalia, including needles, syringes and crack pipes, and having unprotected sex. To reduce the risk of HIV and Hepatitis C transmission, the Canadian AIDS Society promotes the implementation of harm reduction strategies and programs. These provide a continuum of care, and complement efforts in prevention, education, treatment and enforcement.
Harm reduction recognizes that people who use drugs are not always able to abstain from using and provides a safe alternative. BC offers a variety of safer sex, safer injection and safer inhalation supplies (see supply catalogue). This follows the new pan-Canadian best practice recommendations document for harm reduction programs that provide services to people who use drugs and are at risk for HIV, HCV and other harms.
December 1 is World AIDS Day and the start of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week. Let us take a moment to renew our commitment to "Getting to Zero" by continuing harm reduction and treatment efforts.
A list of AIDS Awareness events in BC can be found at SmartSexResource.com.
For more information on HIV, check out hiv101.ca.
The Harm Reduction Program is part of the BC Centre for Disease Control. We believe every person has the right to the best health possible and should be treated with dignity and respect.
We advocate for a community-based participatory model where patients are partners. We see ourselves as 'co-learners' meaning we understand that clients are the ‘experts’ with lived experiences and, to reciprocate, we are open and share our knowledge and our expertise. We believe in including people who use illegal drugs from across BC in policy decisions and program changes.
About Harm Reduction
Harm reduction aims to keep people safe and minimize death, disease, and injury from high-risk behaviour. Harm reduction involves a range of support services and strategies to enhance the knowledge, skills, resources, and supports for individuals, families and communities to be safer and healthier.
The evidence shows it works and has many benefits for people who use substances, their families, and communities.