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

In recent years, this approach has also been applied to reducing negative health outcomes that are associated with sexual activity. Examples of harm reduction services include:

  • needle distribution/recovery
  • opioid replacement (for example methadone)
  • overdose antidote provision (for example naloxone)
  • safer sex supply distribution (for example condoms)

There will always be activities associated with risk in our society. The central focus of a harm reduction approach is on supporting efforts to minimize negative health and social outcomes. Harm reduction promotes health for the individual, and advocates for broader health and social policy change. It does not condone or condemn any particular behaviour. While the historical roots of harm reduction are in the area of substance use, these principles are used in many different contexts. For example, seat belts reduce the harms of driving collisions and sunscreens reduce the harms from sun exposure.

Harm Reduction Initiative in Southern Health-Santé Sud

To help prevent new hepatitis C and HIV infections, Southern Health-Santé Sud has introduced a new harm reduction program. Sterile needle and other supply distribution is being provided by public health nurses.

For more Information

Public health nurses educate those who use injectable drugs on preventing the spread of infection and will also provide referral/linkages to other health and community resources. For more information on accessing needles and other supplies for safer drug use, please contact your local Public Health-Healthy Living office