The Atlantic Region Takes Action on STBBI Testing

Initiative Summary

This initiative was to support the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Framework for Action by bringing together key public health officials, health researchers, policy makers, industry partners and other key stakeholders to explore how the Atlantic provinces might mobilize to advance Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections (STBBI) testing to help reduce the burden of STBBIs across the Atlantic region by 2030.

Initiative Objectives and Goals

This initiative had multiple objectives, including to: increase understanding of the unique characteristics of STBBIs in the Atlantic region including potential barriers and innovative solutions to testing; explore collaborative and interprovincial actions to help support increased access to testing as a key pillar of the PHAC Framework for Action, in an effort to reach the undiagnosed and expedite access to treatment; examine the potential utility of newer STBBI testing technologies and approaches for use in Atlantic Canada; and determine potential interprovincial agreements for testing-related actions needed to help reduce the health impact of STBBIs in the Atlantic region.

The Role of this Initiative to End the HIV Epidemic

The rates of STBBIs in the Atlantic region represent an ongoing public health challenge, with increasing rates of infections and recent outbreaks of HIV, HCV and other STBBIs occurring across the region. Access to and uptake of STBBI testing therefore remains a critical response to the reaching the undiagnosed and referring them to treatment and care.

Meaningful Engagement with People with Lived Experience

Affected communities and persons with lived experience were included throughout the planning and delivery of the initiative, and were involved in the efforts to build upon specific recommendations and objectives outlined as a result of the preliminary collaborative workshop.

Key performance indicators

Primary target audience

Key public health officials, health researchers, policy makers, industry partners and stakeholders

Start Date
June 24, 2019
-
January 2023
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Strategic marketing and support tactics

Website, Social networks, Email campaign

RESULTS

Over thirty-six participants from the Atlantic region and throughout Canada participated in the inaugural BBE. Of these, program evaluation found that: 92% found the information presented to be valuable to their work; 100% found the suggested background and research readings helpful to their work and the objectives of the BBE; 100% gained new knowledge (in HIV, HCV, and other STBBIS); and 100% had developed new collaboration opportunities. The initiative led to the creation of the Atlantic Regional Working Group, an interprovincial STBBI testing working group which meets on a monthly basis. The initiative was so successful that AIRN was invited to submit (and subsequently awarded) funding to support an additional Exchange in 2020, specifically devoted to the development of a comprehensive interprovincial testing strategy in the Atlantic region.

Results

Over thirty-six participants from the Atlantic region and throughout Canada participated in the inaugural BBE. Of these, program evaluation found that:
92% found the information presented to be valuable to their work;
100% found the suggested background and research readings helpful to their work and the objectives of the BBE;
100% gained new knowledge (in HIV, HCV, and other STBBIS); and 100% had developed new collaboration opportunities. The initiative led to the creation of the Atlantic Regional Working Group, an interprovincial STBBI testing working group which meets on a monthly basis. The initiative was so successful that AIRN was invited to submit (and subsequently awarded) funding to support an additional Exchange in 2020, specifically devoted to the development of a comprehensive interprovincial testing strategy in the Atlantic region.

Insights

Challenges

"But I also learn from the women after hearing their stories. I put them into practice. ‘Cause they teach me. I teach them. They learn from me." —Valérie, a BSC Collaborative member