Windsor

Windsor women now have exclusive needle exchange program

Welcome Centre Shelter for Women will be offering clean needles and literature on how to avoid contracting blood-borne illnesses by using clean needles.
Kim Levergood, women HIV outreach coordinator with AIDS Committee of Windsor, says women with drug addictions share needles more often than men. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Windsor's needle exchange program expanded into Windsor's west end Tuesday with the launch of a satellite project designed specifically for women.

Welcome Centre Shelter for Women will be offering clean needles and literature on how to avoid contracting blood-borne illnesses as part of the pilot project.

This latest harm-reduction initiative is spearheaded by the AIDS Committee of Windsor, which already offers needle exchange services to men and women in the downtown.

But women are at a higher risk of contracting diseases through sharing needles, which is why the group needs this additional service, said Kim Levergood, women HIV outreach coordinator with AIDS Committee of Windsor.

Welcome Centre Shelter for Women selected as satellite site for needle exchange program. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

"Women in the community are at a greater risk and vulnerability because women generally borrow and share needles more than men do," she told CBC Windsor.

Mothers are particularly reluctant to ask for safer supplies because they fear they could lose their children if anyone knows about their addiction, Levergood explained. Instead, they choose to share needles, which increases the risk of contracting diseases.

Women can access the program anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week. Specialized support will be offered Monday through Wednesday between noon and 3 p.m. and on Thursday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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