This project aims to expand access to health care for people who inject drugs (PWID), with a focus on people experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability. Specifically, Hepatitis Education Project’s (HEP) objective is to improve health in these communities through the creation of a syringe services program (SSP), as well as increased access to hepatitis C (HCV) screening, linkage to care, and cure.
Through the funds provided by PHPDA, HEP will complete the following project activities:
• Establish a syringe services program,
• Fund 0.5 FTE syringe services coordinator, and
• Hire 1.0 FTE case manager, with 0.5 FTE dedicated to providing comprehensive case management services.
Support from PHPDA will enable HEP to establish an SSP at HEP’s office in the Central District. The SSP will be operated by HEP staff as well as peers and volunteers. To start, the SSP will operate one day per week for four hours. By the end of the project year, HEP will open a second exchange day, bringing total SSP services to eight hours per week. Syringe distribution will be needs-based, allowing participants to get up to 100 clean syringes per visit regardless of the number of syringes disposed. Needs-based distribution, as opposed to a one-for-one model, is recognized as a best practice for effective SSPs. In line with other King County SSPs, HEP will not collect identifying information to track the number of unique participants; rather, the number of services provided will be tracked per encounter.
Hepatitis Education Project (HEP)
The Hepatitis Education Project (HEP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the epidemics of hepatitis C and hepatitis B. Founded in 1993, HEP works with patients, medical providers, public health and policymakers, and provides direct services and advocacy for some of the community’s most underserved and marginalized populations.
HEP is driven by the values and principles of social justice and harm reduction, and is committed to being an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-sexist organization.