Harm reduction

December Updates from Syringe Access Services

The SAS team shares that the Outreach and Mobile Health Access Van has returned after getting some amazing outfitting.

Outreach & Mobile Health Access Updates

This image shows the mobile health access van parked on the street.
The Mobile Health Access Van has returned! Photo: San Francisco AIDS Foundation

This van is fully outfitted to provide Mobile Health Access including phlebotomy chairs, a refrigerator for medical storage, and both front seats rotate all the way around. The dimensions allow for plenty of space and even have a retractable awning. Eventually, the van will be used for hepatitis C testing and treatment.

This photo shows the interior of a van. It has light gray cabinets and a cabin light.
The van’s interior is outfitted to maximize storage. Photo: San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Inside the remodeled van is plenty of storage space for safe consumption supplies. The high ceilings make it a comfortable fit for people of all heights. The van has two HVAC fans.

We have had health educators in the field, creating comprehensive heat maps of camps they are serving and tracking to make sure we are consistently serving folks and meeting them where they are at. This van provides an opportunity to serve communities that might never make it to the 6th Street Harm Reduction Center.

Community Programs Updates

Community Secondary Syringe Exchange Update

Amidst the pandemic, we have continued to work with our community to implement programs. We are pleased to share with you all that our Community Secondary Syringe Exchange Program (CSSEP) is in full swing as is our Community Sweeps Program, all of our community programs are incentivized and are aimed at empowering PWID.

One of the key goals of CSSEP is to reach communities that face barriers to accessing SAS. Through the relationships and networks that the participants of our program are already a part of they will increase access to harm reduction supplies, health education and overdose prevention and response with Narcan. CSSEP participants provide barrier-facing communities with at least 1,000 syringes, injection supplies and Narcan each week. SAS CSSEP participants are trained to teach others about overdose prevention, education and response using Narcan which will allow them to distribute Narcan to their community. They also provide safe disposal of syringes and injection supplies.

Community Sweeps Program

The Community Sweeps Program started at the beginning of December. This program existed pre-pandemic and provided community members an opportunity to walk around SoMa and collect syringes that had been misappropriately disposed of. We have had to alter the program in response to the pandemic and are working in partnership with residents of Safer Sleeping Villages.

The role of a Community Syringe Sweeper is to walk around neighborhoods adjacent to the Safer Sleeping Village the Sweeper is living at and to pick up and dispose of syringes properly. This is part of our initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of our community by maintaining safe sidewalks for our community. Those that are in the Community Sweeps Program are trained in the safest ways to handle used syringes and are given in-depth training to stay safe. They are also provided with grabbers, gloves, and bio containers. The Community Sweepers are given handheld clickers to track the number of syringes they have collected.