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AIDS Care. 2009 May;21(5):638-44. doi: 10.1080/09540120802385645.

An integrated supervised injecting program within a care facility for HIV-positive individuals: a qualitative evaluation.

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British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


While there has been growing interest in comprehensive models of treatment and care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, little attention has been given to the potential role that supervised injecting programs could play in increasing access to prevention and care services for HIV-positive injection drug users (IDU). We conducted 22 semi-structured interviews with HIV-positive IDU regarding a supervised injection program integrated in an HIV focused care facility known as the Dr. Peter Centre (DPC). We also interviewed seven staff members who supervise injections within the facility. All interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and a thematic analysis was conducted. Participant and staff reports indicated that the integrated supervised injection program influenced IDUs' access to care by building more open and trusting relationships with staff, facilitating engagement in safer injection education and improving the management of injection-related infections. Participants and staff viewed the program as facilitating the delivery of care through mediating overdose risks, reducing the need to punitively manage drug use on-site and reducing the risks of encountering used syringes on the premises. For some participants, however, feelings of shame and fear of judgment in relation to their drug use limited initial uptake of the program. Our findings identify mechanisms through which integrated supervised injection programs may serve to better facilitate access and delivery of comprehensive care for HIV-positive IDU and highlight the benefits of addressing HIV-positive IDUs' drug use in the context of comprehensive models of healthcare.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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