Programs that offer HIV tests which are used to identify individuals who have been infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and are at risk for developing AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) or which are used to measure progression of the disease in people known to be infected. The most common HIV screening test is the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) which most frequently uses peripheral blood drawn from the arm or a finger as a sample, but can also be conducted using serum, oral fluids or urine. Repeatedly reactive EIA tests are confirmed using the Western blot or the immunofluorescence assay (IFA). The most common test that is used to measure disease progression is the PCR (polymeraise chain reaction) or viral load test. Many programs that provide HIV testing also provide pre-testing and post-test counselling which includes information about AIDS/HIV, reducing risks for HIV transmission, emotional support to help the individual deal with the testing process and test results, and information about and referral to other AIDS-related services.
Programs that provide counselling services for individuals at risk for contracting or transmitting the HIV virus with the objective of supporting their ability to make behaviour changes that will reduce their risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. Counselling involves a personal risk assessment, development of a personalized action plan and the decision to seek an HIV test. Individuals who have a history of injection drug use, unprotected intercourse or sexual contact, sexual activity at a young age, multiple sex partners, sexually transmitted infection, and/or sex trade work are considered to be at high or increased risk and are targets for prevention counselling.
Programs that distribute condoms, lubricants, dental dams, and/or other supplies that can be used to help stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C, among high-risk populations. Individuals who have a history of injection drug use, unprotected intercourse or sexual contact, sexual activity at a young age, multiple sex partners, sex with a high-risk partner, sexually transmitted infection, and/or sex trade work are considered to be at high or increased risk.
Programs that provide information regarding practices that reduce the risk of an individual contracting an infection, including AIDS, through sexual activity.
Programs that provide treatment which includes approved medication (e.g., methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, antabuse) to support the efforts of individuals with an opioid or alcohol use disorder to abstain from or reduce their use of opioids (usually heroin or painkillers such as oxycontin or morphine) or alcohol. The extended-release, injectable form of naltrexone (Vivitrol) may also be used. The objective of maintenance is to gradually reduce the amount of the substitute drug that is required in order to reduce and, if possible, eventually eliminate dependency altogether. Medication assisted maintenance treatment (MAT) may be provided in an outpatient treatment program (OTP) or OTP unit such as a pharmacy or physician's office, or for buprenorphine products (Bunavail, Suboxone, Subutex, Zubslov), a physician's office or other health care setting. Methadone maintenance treatment is provided in a clinic. It is recommended that medication assisted maintenance treatment be provided in combination with counselling and behavioural therapies.
Programs that help prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne infectious diseases by providing new, sterile and single use equipment and biohazard containers for safe disposal, in order to reduce the spread of these diseases. Supplies provided may vary per program and can include safe injection supplies, safe inhalation supplies, drug testing, and antidotes to reverse an overdose from opioids. Also included are supplies for safe hormone injection for trans, gender diverse, and two-spirited individuals who face unique barriers and inequitable access to gender-affirming health care services. The distribution of supplies is part of a comprehensive public health disease prevention strategy with the goal to reduce re-using and sharing drug use equipment.
Programs that provide for the collection and safe disposal of "sharps" including syringes, needles with attached tubing, lancets and other materials that have been used by individuals with serious health conditions such as diabetes who manage their care at home. Included are collection boxes and kiosks for used sharps made available to the public by hospitals, pharmacies, health departments, mobile van programs, housing projects, police and fire stations and other community-based organizations; residential pickup services that give people special containers for their used sharps that can be placed at the curbside and picked up trained special waste handlers; and mail back programs that give people special containers that can be filled and mailed to designated facilities for disposal. The objective of these programs is to provide for the proper containment of sharps, and ensure that family members, sanitation workers and other people in the community are protected from potential injury or transmission of blood borne diseases due to needle sticks.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.