Opioid use is a growing epidemic across the country.  In Minnesota, specifically Native American communities, have been hard hit with over doses and more frequently over dose fatalities.  In the 55404-zip code, we have had the over 65,000 syringe exchanges, the highest number of any zip code in Minnesota. Funded by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Indigenous Peoples Task Force’s Syringe Services Program was intended to slow the transmission of HIV/AIDS (and hepatitis C) among PWID (People Who Inject Drugs) by providing clients with new and sterile supplies for injection, educating members of this target population on Harm reduction methods that could protect their health and the health of the community overall. Moreover, our syringe Exchange staff use every interaction with our clients to provide counseling while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of substance abuse treatment and providing said referrals. IPTF’s syringe services program features four components: HIV testing/education, HCV testing/education, Condom distribution and Narcan distribution. With over 300 clients in our first year of operation IPTF staff can already see the effects of this program in the community we serve and are hopeful to continue to see this trend.

What to expect?

  • The client will be welcomed when they arrive.
  • A staff member will have the client sign in and take a seat in our waiting area
  • The Harm Reduction Coordinator will then call the client’s initials and take them to the syringe exchange room
  • The Harm Reduction Coordinator will introduce themselves to the client and will walk them through a “new client Intake Form” that will gauge the risk level of the client.
    • Depending on what your risk factors are, you may be offered an HIV or HCV test
  • The Harm Reduction Coordinator will then take time to create a file for the client that includes our intake form and returning client forms.
  • Once this file is created, our Harm Reduction Coordinator will collect any “used” syringes and provide the client with 10 more sterile syringes than they brought in.

How are the HIV/HCV tests done?

  • The tester will do a finger prick to draw the blood; they will wipe the first drop off and then take the second drop for the test.
  • The blood vial will then be placed into the test kit and followed by a buffer solution that will produce a result.
  • While the test is running the tester will ask a few personal questions that are asked with all clients.

 Your results are now ready to read.

  • Re-active or Positive (the client has been infected by the HIV virus) (One Dot)
  • Non-Re-active or Negative (the client does not show any virus at this time) (two Dots)
  • Depending on the status tester will then refer the client to the proper resources.

Sterile Equipment available:

  1. McKesson Syringes:
    1. 27 Gauge syringe (both .5cc and 1cc)
      1. 28 Gauge syringe (both .5cc and 1cc)
      1. 29 Gauge syringe (both .5cc and 1cc)
      1. 31 Gauge syringe (both .5cc and 1cc)
    1. Tourniquets
    1. Cottons
    1. Cookers
    1. Alcohol Wipes
    1. Antibiotic Ointment
    1. Sterile Water
    1. Condoms (Male/Female condoms, Flavored condoms, Finger cots and Dental Dams)
    1. Naloxone (Narcan Kits) [the overdose reversing drug!]

HIV test Kit (INSTI HIV-1/HIV-2 Antibody test)

HCV test (OraQuick HCV Rapid Antibody test)