Source : INPUD’s International Diaries
Although the battle to save lives and promote humane drug policies in Vancouver however is ongoing, there are certainly signs that the current interventions are working. Yet the aim must be to examine the strategies that are showing results Statistics show the number of new HIV infections (incidence) may be decreasing among people who inject drugs, females and Aboriginal people and where targeted, innovative health and harm reduction responses are delivered, results generally follow.
According to 2011 national HIV estimates, an estimated 14% of new infections were attributed to injection drug use compared to an estimated 17% of new infection in 2008.*
In Vancouver itself, initiatives across the board have given us all a welcome insight into just what targeted, user friendly and progressive health interventions can do. The project STOP (The Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS Project) was a three-year pilot funded by the Ministry of Health and ending in March 2013. This fascinating endeavour would ultimately transform the HIV system of care in the city through a variety of initiatives and activities we now know as imperative for change, such as community engagement with people living with HIV, evidence review, consultations with both service and healthcare providers, the development of population-specific reports, constant assessment of the current state of the HIV system of care, policy change, and the funding, monitoring and evaluation of over 40 pilot activities. Phew! A terrific document was recently published which I urge anyone interested in progressive health interventions for this community, to read this (Click Here).