Education and Outreach
AIDS Action staff regularly attend outreach events to distribute educational materials and help connect people to care and services, including HIV and STD/STI counseling and testing.
During fiscal year 2017, AIDS Action staff distributed 47,550 condoms. We also work to connect at-risk individuals to pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, a regimen of HIV medications that help protect HIV-negative individuals from contracting HIV when taken regularly under supervision from a physician.
Needle Exchange/Overdose Prevention
AIDS Action operates the second largest needle exchange programs in Massachusetts, which was one of the first opened in the state. Dubbed ACCESS (Advocating Community Change through Education and Syringe Services), the program distributes harm reduction supplies like clean needles, overdose supplies including Naloxone, risk reduction counseling and overdose prevention education, testing for HIV, hepatitis C and STD/STI’s, and connection to medical care and addiction treatment to more than 1,100 clients.
In fiscal year 2017, we distributed nearly 241,000 clean syringes. We also trained 296 individuals in opioid overdose prevention and distributed 626 refills of Naloxone, a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdoses. Individuals we trained to administer Naloxone saved the lives of 251 people in overdose situations.
Needle exchange programs have become one of our most important HIV prevention tools, reducing HIV transmission through injection drug use in the state from 15% of new infections in 2003 to just 5% in 2015.
TransCEND (Transgender Care and Education Needs Diversity) offers transgender women support and assistance with accessing basic services, medical care, educational groups, risk reduction materials, and clinical case management. In fiscal year 2017, TransCEND produced a Safer Hormone Injection Guide with information about safely injecting hormones as well as other risk-reduction tips. In addition, AIDS Action served 176 transgender or gender non-conforming clients across all programs, including TransCEND.
Youth on Fire
AIDS Action’s Youth on Fire is a program for homeless and street-involved youth, ages 14 – 24, which operates a safe and warm drop-in center that provides access to everything from hot showers, meals, and laundry to mental health and medical care and services. We also run a housing program that helps to get young adults off the streets and into safe housing situations so they can start rebuilding their lives. 184 homeless young people received services from Youth on Fire in fiscal year 2017, making 4,200 visits to the program. Nearly 3,500 have been helped since the program opened its doors in 2000.