The purpose of this project is to initiate development of a provincial primary care (PHC) referral network and peer navigation program for HIV PrEP and other related aspects of sexual health care. Throughout the region, many people do not know to whom and where to go to for services like PrEP and STBBI testing. Service providers do not have a provincial list of providers from which to make referrals for sexual health related care. Linkage to care is a major challenge for people who are new to the region, and/or lacking community connections. Overall, there is lack of education and information on both the use of PrEP for HIV prevention, and how to access it.
This work came from a recommendation for a “registry of PrEP-friendly providers,” which is one of the recommendations coming out of the Nov 2018 PrEP stakeholder consultation on reducing barriers to PrEP. The need to be inclusive of broader sex and gender health care issues is recognized, as well as the need for peer navigators to assist in accessing PrEP.
Initiative Objectives and Goals
1. Create a provincial network with a central access point that directs people within their preferred region to primary care providers who are comfortable and competent in providing sexual health care, including prescribing and monitoring PrEP for HIV prevention
2. Ensure that the resource is included in the provincial #311 health resource directory
3. Reduce/eliminate inaccessibility to PrEP and sexual healthcare in both urban and non-urban settings
4. Reduced stigma within health care services (e.g., dispel archaic ideas about people who need/are taking PrEP) and increased competency of providers to provide sexual health care to diverse communities
5. Ensure that the resource is population specific, and meets the unique and diverse needs of the different communities facing elevated risk of HIV transmission
6. Shift in focus to a primary prevention and promotion (upstream) mindset from disease/illness care and managing chronic disease
7. Support the long-term sustainability of sexual health service organizations
8. Engage people with lived experience, e.g., substance use and HIV, in shaping the referral network
The Role of this Initiative to End the HIV Epidemic
PrEP and related sexual healthcare needs remain out of reach, or wholly inaccessible, for many individuals and communities throughout the region. Diverse strategies and responses, including increased access to PrEP, STBBI testing, and linkage to care are essential components to begin reducing the rate of HIV and STBBI transmission and infection throughout the region.
Meaningful Engagement with People with Lived Experience
People with lived experience are essential to the planning and success of the initiative and will be engaged through collaboration with existing partnering agencies (i.e. ASOs, NDDP, sexual health centres).
A REACH Collaboration
Principal co-investigators: Michelle Proctor-Simms, Garry Dart
Key performance indicators
Primary target audience
Individuals at risk for HIV and STBBIs
Strategic marketing and support tactics
Website, Social networks, Email campaign, Print pieces, Webinar/Seminar