Introducing harm reduction services for young key populations in South Africa

Introducing harm reduction services for young key populations in South Africa

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This change story describes how a youth-centred approach in Durban, South Africa, increased access to harm reduction, HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services for young people who use drugs. Before Young, Wild and… Free? (YWF), young people who use drugs (YPWUD) in Durban did not have access to or correct knowledge about harm reduction services. These individuals relied on word of mouth rather than factual evidence as it is difficult to access harm reduction information and services due to stigmatisation, age-related restrictions, and limited knowledge of services. The project extended services into the township areas, outside the city limits, to reach diverse clients with extremely limited knowledge of harm reduction approaches. Findings from the community-based participatory research (CBPR) showed that only 25% of the client group had heard of the term 'harm reduction'.

The study aimed to evaluate different experiences, behaviours, needs, barriers, and challenges of young key populations accessing HIV prevention, testing and treatment, SRHR services, and harm reduction services in and around Durban. These insights informed the project implementation plan. The implementation phase consisted of prevention and intervention Funded by A young psychosocial counsellor from TB HIV Care conducts individual sessions with young clients who reach out for assistance. strategies. The goal was to reduce the risk of contracting HIV through unregulated substance use among young key populations, including sex workers, PWUD and LGBTQI+ people between the ages of 16-24 years.

Introducing harm reduction services for young key populations in South Africa

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