Addressing HCV, HIV and Syphilis Rates Among Indigenous Populations During COVID-19 Through Community Partnerships

Author: Pam Ford Leona Quewezance

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2022

All Nations Hope Network (ANHN) is an organization that provides support and services to First Nations,
Métis and Inuit communities who are experiencing HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.
Since September 2020, Omega Specialty Nurses (OSN) has partnered with ANHN in Regina to provide
support to address the growing numbers of HCV, HIV and syphilis among Indigenous peoples in
The team from OSN; Registered Psychiatric Nurse, and phlebotomist provided weekly visits to ANHN for
Point of Care testing for HCV, HIV and syphilis as well as linking clients to additional care, treatment and
support, such as access to information on addictions and harm reduction approaches. Offering
enhanced supports, is “bringing the care where the individuals are at”.
In 2021, ANHN’s program with OSN was able to test 471 individuals; 261 were HCV antibody positive, 44
were HIV positive (12 of these were newly found HIV) as well the program was able to identify 13 new
cases of syphilis. 80 of these individuals were treatment eligible and 28 of them received treatment.
Access to proper care and support has been difficult for many Indigenous communities during the Covid19 pandemic. Testing was not being done by public health. It has been noted that there has been an
increase of new infections and re-infections of HCV. We suspect this is related to the pandemic and lack
of services being offered, access to clean needles, and an increase in isolation leading to higher drug
use. The weekly visits enhanced relationship building and trust that allowed testing and linkage to care.
Disclosure of Interest Statement:
Pam ford has received funding from both Gilead Sciences Canada and AbbVie Canada. No
pharmaceutical grants were received in the development of this study.

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