Community-Based Research Award

In November 2015, Street Health’s Harm Reduction Coordinator Mary Kay MacVicar, along with Regent Park CHC colleagues Sabin Mukkath and Josie Ricciardi were honoured with this distinction from The Ontario HIV Treatment Network.

This award recognized their research and results from an evaluation of Street Health’s HIPS Program, which engages peer outreach workers to educate women who are involved in street-based sex work. The objective of the HIPS Program is to reach out & connect with these women in order to reduce the heightened risk of, or to prevent, HIV infection and violence involved in sex work and/or drug use. Peer workers, with their own lived-experience, offer education about HIV prevention and harm reduction, and make referrals to HIV testing and counselling services. HIPS Program workers also organize a weekly , women-only drop-in where sex workers can meet and mutually support other street involved women. Peer workers also present training & education sessions to frontline workers from other agencies that serve sex workers.

Based on feedback from the research participants, we would like to present To The Point, a summary ‘how-to’ guide that others can use to create a similar peer-based program. This brief publication deals with issues such as: why peer-based is more effective; how to get started; things to consider & prepare for; and overcoming stigma.

Click on this link to access To The Point.