Thanks to the Elton John AIDS Foundation grant and the Syringe Access Fund, the project will expand to provide services to more than 800 at risk individuals over the next two years.

 

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Since 2016, the Missouri SAFE Project (MOSAFE) has been working to educate Missourians about the importance of syringe access programs to public health. Syringe access, often referred to as “needle exchange” helps to make the community safer by reducing rates of new intravenous (IV)-related HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) infections.


“Harm reduction engages individuals and gives that person access to tools which helps to keep them safe, healthy and alive,” says Aaron M. Laxton, Project Manager. “Individuals who access syringe access programs like MOSAFE are five-times more likely to enter into a drug treatment program.”

 EltonjJohnAIDSFoundation

Laxton, along with Chad Sabora and Robert Reilly created the project in 2016 to seek changes in legislation and provide advocacy for students as a means of prevention.


The Missouri Safe Project is part of a greater effort working to address the heroin crisis by using a variety of practical solutions to help people stay alive. Thanks to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Syringe Access Fund, the project will expand to provide services to individuals who are at the greatest risk. Laxton says that the project aims to serve more than 800 individuals over the next two years.


As Missouri currently grapples with an ever-increasing opioid and opiate epidemic, the LGBTQIA community is also experiencing an increase of IV-amphetamine and meth-amphetamine use. Younger participants are coming to the project after being introduced to IV-meth use in group settings or through older sexual partners. According a CDC study released in 2013, Truvada taken as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis reduces the risk of contracting HIV by up to 49% in individuals who are injecting intravenously.


Individuals can access services by calling/texting 314-610-0999. Basic services are anonymous however HIV and Hepatitis C testing requires collection of minimal information.


Services include:


Safety Planning
Narcan
Wound Care
Clean Supplies
Referrals to other community services
Disposal of used syringes
Basic Hygiene Products


Those interested in learning more about the project are invited to visit www.mosafe.org or find the project on facebook at www.facebook.com/mosafeproject.

 

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