British Columbia

New funding aimed at reducing HIV and hep C infection rates among drug users

$30 million harm reduction fund to finance community initiatives aimed at reducing blood-borne infection rates among drug users who share needles, pipes and other equipment.

$30 million fund to support initiatives to reduce diseases spread by sharing of needles and pipes

A $30 million, five-year harm reduction fund has been launched by the Public Health Agency of Canada. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The federal government is calling for proposals to reduce HIV and hepatitis C infection rates among drug users who share needles, pipes and other drug-use equipment.

The initiative is part of a $30 million, five-year Harm Reduction Fund set up by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

"The Harm Reduction Fund will help Canadians who use drugs to adopt safer behaviours, and will reduce the rate of preventable diseases," said Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

Shared drug-use equipment is a key driver of HIV and hepatitis C infections in Canada.

In 2014, 10.5 per cent of new HIV infections were among people who injected drugs.

A survey conducted between 2010 and 2012 showed 68 per cent of respondents had been infected with hepatitis C.

According to a news release, "Successful projects will implement evidence-based, time-limited interventions such as the development of educational resources for people who use drugs, peer outreach initiatives and training for health service providers."

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