Programs and Services

HIV West Yellowhead offers a wide range of free safer sex and harm reduction supplies.

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a practical approach to drug use. It recognizes that quitting drugs may not be realistic or desirable for everyone. It is:
• community-based
• user-driven
• non-judgmental
• broad-based in that it addresses systems, which isolate, alienate and marginalize people

It meets drug users “where they are at” and responds to their health concerns. Harm reduction aims to decrease drug-related harm as outlined by drug users themselves. It also recognizes drug users as part of a larger community. Protecting and improving the health of the community as a whole therefore requires protecting and improving the health of drug users. Drug users must be integrated into the community rather than isolated from it.

The harm reduction approach recognizes that two different types of problems result from illegal drugs. One set of problems results from the negative effects of the drug on an individual’s health, another from society’s efforts to eliminate drugs. These two are often confused. Much of the harm that occurs is blamed on drugs themselves, while the negative consequences of efforts to eliminate them are not recognized. Harm reduction isn’t solely about change in individual behavior, but about societal change. It challenges us to rethink how we see drugs and recognize that many of the harms associated with drug use are caused by prejudice and a “war on drugs” approach to drug policies.

Harm reduction includes initiatives such as designated drivers, needle exchange programs, safe grads, safer sex campaigns, safe injection facilities, methadone maintenance, prescription heroin or morphine, and others. It also addresses the broad needs of drug users, including issues of physical and mental health, the justice system, income support, food security, and homelessness.

Needle Exchange Program

Free safe injection supplies – free supplies on request including
needles, filters, cookers, ties, sterile water, alcohol swabs
Pharmacy program – free supplies are available at the following pharmacies:

  • Rexall, Jasper
  • Life Med, Whitecourt

And also at the HIV West Yellowhead office located at 152 Athabasca Avenue, Hinton, AB

Safe needle disposal program – HIV West Yellowhead supplies sharps containers to businesses and agencies throughout the West Yellowhead region. Personal sharps containers are also available.

Overdose prevention

Take home Naloxone program training and workshop

Due to an increase of accidental overdose deaths (largely due to Fentanyl being sold to and used by unknowing buyers) in our province and country, HIVWY (along with other HIV organizations in the province) has partnered with Alberta Health Services to educate, train and empower clients, drug users and service providers to take a stand against accidental overdose deaths.

Drug use in our province has become more risky, as the drugs have become more potent, less expensive and easier to buy or manufacture. As the rate of drug use increases, so does the risk of an accidental overdose which can result in death. HIVWY is committed to the health and safety of all of the communities in our region. We believe that training individuals how to recognize, assess and treat an overdose is a key part in providing quality care, support and education to the individuals we serve, as well as the community as a whole.

Our Prevention and Education Coordinator is happy to set up training for anyone interested in the program.

Our Outreach worker is available to set up clients with a quick training session on how the kits are to be used, as well as connect clients who use opiates with a prescriber in order to obtain their free Naloxone kits.

Free safer sex supplies

Free male and female condoms, dental dams, and lubricant are available by contacting us  or dropping in to our Hinton office at 152 Athabasca Ave  contacting us

Care and Support

HIV West Yellowhead has an office  in Hinton and staff travel to the communities of Jasper, Edson, and Whitecourt on a regular basis. Services can be accessed in person at our office, over the phone, or a meeting can be arranged in your community. Our Support and Outreach Worker can be contacted  for information,  to arrange a meeting  or to deliver supplies.

  • Non-judgmental Services
  • One-on-one support to people living with and affected by HIV, Hepatitis C, or an STI
  • Referral to Northern HIV clinic, Hepatitis C clinic , physicians, dentists, therapeutic counseling, drug treatment, detox, mental health services, housing services, emergency needs, food banks and  income support.
  • Referral to HIV, Hepatitis C, or sexual health services
  • Financial assistance for travel to HIV or Hepatitis C  appointments
  • Treatment information support
  • Free harm reduction supplies including condoms, lube, and dental dams

Prevention and Education

HIV West Yellowhead offers a wide variety of learning opportunities for individuals, schools, organizations, communities, and businesses. We are able to
adapt presentations to the needs and interests of the audience. We are able to provide full day workshops, shorter sessions, one hour presentations, or ten minutes orienting new staff!


Topics include but are not limited to:

Hep C Basics
STIs Basics
Condoms 101
Harm Reduction Basics
Beyond the Basics of HIV and Hep C
Sexual Diversity
Staff or Volunteer Orientations
Universal Precautions
Overdose Prevention (Take Home Naloxone)


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