SAFER CHOICES NORTHERN NETWORK:
The Safer Choices Northern Network was formed to address the high incidence and prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Blood borne infections (STBBIs) currently found in the Northern Health Region- East. Presently, STI rates in this region are five to six times higher per capita than the rest of Manitoba. The Safer Choices Northern Network is based on the principles of Community Capacity Building, defined as:
“Creating the conditions which enable people to respond to the needs of their community regarding HIV/AIDS, STI, Hepatitis C and Harm Reduction. This may be achieved for example through increased: understanding, inclusivity, action, information, services, resources, networking, openness, knowledge, support, collaboration, skills, integration, advocacy.” (Adapted from National Information and Support Network, Nov.1998).
How we are involved in community:
We are 30 representatives from 20 local, regional and provincial organizations, who want to bring harm reduction to our communities and improve health care access for all. Our Peer Working Group is an enthusiastic group of youth, wanting to make harm reduction a less taboo topic, by embracing proactive solutions to challenges they are facing.
Together, through community events, information and resource sharing, we work to increase access, awareness and acceptance of harm reduction. We are reducing stigmas by opening dialogues about the issues facing the North: increased STBBIs, safer sex and drug use, including supply distribution.
We work with the NRHA to host community events, as well as supporting each other’s health promotions. Some of our events include:
- Annual Sexual Health Awareness Week (February)
- Annual National Addictions Awareness Week (November)
- Annual Hepatitis Awareness Month (May) & World Hepatitis Day (July)
- Annual HIV/AIDS Awareness Week/World AIDS Day Community Awareness Campaign (December 1)
- Development of Syphilis Testing Campaign and related resources
- Community Campaigns- Nickel Days, Pride, National Aboriginal Day
- Distribution of safer sex kits in local service provider locations, educational institutions, and bars/lounges
- Providing educational presentations on sexual health and youth related issues/concerns
- Support surrounding communities in their events- Norway House Pow Wow
SCNN was formed in 2006 to address the high incidence and prevalence of STBBIs, including HIV & hepatitis C, in the Thompson & surrounding areas.