This year from July 22-27, Washington D.C. hosts the XIX (19th) International AIDS Conference, the premier meeting for those working in the field of HIV/AIDS, as well as policymakers, people living with HIV/AIDS and others committed to ending the epidemic. The conference features abstract-driven breakout sessions; daily seminars that all participants will attend; professional development workshops; and components such as the Global Village and the Youth Program. The AIDS 2012 Program will present new scientific knowledge and offer many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV. The event offers great opportunity for professional development and networking.
LIAAC, along with seven (7) other SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) grantees, submitted an abstract entitled “First Federal Support for Community Based Syringe Exchange Programs: A Panel Presentation by SAMHSA Grantees.” The abstract was picked as one of 40 chosen for an oral poster discussion session from 11,715 abstracts. The LIAAC graphic dept. created a poster to accompany the oral presentation. The poster will be on display from July 23- July 27. The oral presentation will be given Wednesday July 25 from 12:30- 2:30 at the Exhibition Hall. I will be making the oral presentation with Catherine Hart, COO of LIAAC and co-author of the abstract.
The abstract explained the results of how a small group of SAMHSA grantees across the country were chosen to be the first to use Federal dollars to support and develop syringe exchange programs in their communities. LIAAC was honored to be one of the agencies chosen to participate. Since Long Island does not have a needle exchange program, our program was designed to increase access to NY’s Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP). A pilot syringe voucher program with three participating Walgreens pharmacies located in high need areas in both Nassau and Suffolk counties was created. Although challenges were presented, we formed a successful collaboration with Walgreens which provided educational and program promotion materials with each transaction. We were also able to form a collaboration with the local police departments by offering education regarding ESAP and received support from state and local health departments. In the future we hope to provide technical assistance to other agencies looking to establish syringe voucher programs and will seek funding to expand the current program to other Walgreens locations, training Walgreens pharmacists on ESAP regulations and teaching them how to provide services in a culturally sensitive manner. Doing this would provide expanded access for our clients.
Here at LIAAC we are very happy to have received the international honor of having our abstract selected for a poster presentation. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the members of my team that helped make this possible.