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Sterile Needle Distribution Program

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction aims to keep people safe through initiatives that help people decrease harm to themselves and their communities. In Manitoba, approximately 100 people are newly diagnosed with HIV and 350 people are newly diagnosed with hepatitis C each year.

Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver and is spread by contact with infected blood. This means that hepatitis C can be spread by:

  • Sharing needles or other equipment including cookers, spoons, filters, straws, pipes, etc.
  • Sharing personal hygiene equipment like razors, nail clippers or toothbrushes with someone who is hepatitis C positive.
  • Being exposed to tattoo or body piercing equipment that has not been sterilized (including tattoo ink that was used on someone else).
  • Being born to a mother who has hepatitis C.

How can sterile needle distribution help?

To help prevent new hepatitis C and HIV infections, Interlake-Eastern’s public health program is introducing a new harm reduction program.

Sterile needle distribution is being provided by public health nurses within the Selkirk Community Health Office at 202-237 Manitoba Ave. This is the first site for our new initiative, and the public health program is working on further roll-out within the region. Public health nurses are also able to spend time educating those who use drugs via injection on how to best practice to prevent the spread of infection and provide referral/linkages to other health and community resources.

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