Government of Canada takes steps to address high rates of HIV and hepatitis C among people who share drug-use equipment
Minister of Health announces funding for 28 community-based projects
October 11, 2018 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada
Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, including hepatitis C and HIV, are largely preventable. However, there are communities in Canada that have high rates of infection. This is a significant public health concern. The Government of Canada is taking steps to prevent the transmission of these infections and thereby protect the health of Canadians.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced support for 28 projects across the country to reduce the risk of blood-borne infections among people who share drug-use equipment, such as needles and pipes. Harm reduction is a key pillar in Canada’s comprehensive, evidence-based drug strategy.
The projects to be funded will be based in communities that have high rates of hepatitis C and HIV. The funding will support front-line interventions and capacity-building activities in communities, including education resources for people who use drugs, peer-based outreach services, and training for health providers.
“Community organizations do important work to reduce hepatitis C and HIV infections among people who share drug-use equipment. This funding will help communities prevent these infections and support the health and well-being of those at risk.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
“Interventions by community-based organizations are essential for helping local populations that have high rates of hepatitis C and HIV. Reducing the rates of these and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, which are largely preventable infections, is one of my priorities as Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. By meeting the specific needs of individuals who share drug-use equipment, we will help them lead healthier lives.”
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing $8.5 million in this initiative. This is part of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s investment of $30 million over five years through the Harm Reduction Fund. This funding will support community initiatives to address the risk of HIV and hepatitis C infection among people who share drug-use equipment.
People who share drug-use equipment continue to be disproportionately represented among those acquiring new hepatitis C and HIV infections in Canada.
In 2016, people who injected drugs accounted for 14.3% of reported new HIV cases in Canada.
An open call for proposals for funding under the Harm Reduction Fund was launched in May 2018. Additional projects under phase two of the program will be announced in the coming months.
From 2019 to 2022, annual solicitations will be held, allowing organizations across the country to apply for funding for time-limited harm reduction projects. These regular solicitations will help ensure that the program remains flexible in responding to the greatest needs.
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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