Update on South Zone Services

Alisha OstbergNews

Due to a change in Government funding for the South Zone, HIV Community Link is transitioning out of Lethbridge as of May 31, 2021. We are currently working to transition services over to Alberta Health Services (AHS) as they will be covering needle distribution and sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection (STBBI) service provision in Lethbridge moving forward.

In the summer of last year, HIV Community Link was asked to provide support in Lethbridge due to the gap in services for people living with/at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases with the closure of ARCHES. Our team provided six months of direct service delivery in Lethbridge and was able to support more than 1,800 contacts through outreach and distribute over 12,000 harm reduction supplies to help reduce the risk of HIV and hepatitis C in the community. In addition, almost 700 naloxone kits were handed out by our staff to help reduce instances of overdose in Lethbridge. We are very proud of the support our team was able to provide in our short time delivering services in Lethbridge and we look forward to supporting AHS as they expand their services in the community.

The change in government funding for the South Zone also had an impact on some of our services in Medicine Hat, and we will be transitioning our Naloxone training and distribution services over to AHS by May 31, 2021. Due to other sources of funding, we will continue to provide harm reduction services in Medicine Hat, including needle debris clean-up and education, safer sex and safer substance use supplies, and peer support for people who use substances.

HIV Community Link will continue to advocate for these communities, for low-barrier services, and for harm reduction in Alberta. Thank you to our supporters across Alberta for making our work in the South Zone possible. We are committed to achieving our mission – Empowering choices. Engaging communities. Ending transmission