AVI’s mission is to promote health, dignity, and well-being for all people affected by HIV, HCV, and substance use by delivering sex-positive and harm reduction based education, prevention, and support service.
About AVI Health & Community Services
AVI Health & Community Services provides comprehensive, accessible and effective education, prevention, care, treatment and support services to residents of Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands.
Our vision is of a world free of HIV and hepatitis C. Until that time, those most at risk in our community continue to be marginalized - not only by their disease, but also by stigma and discrimination, poverty, and despair. As we fight these diseases, we join with those we serve to provide services based on consideration and respect and to provide visibility and a voice in the community.
AVI utilizes harm reduction philosophy and practice in all of our programs across the Island. A harm reduction approach to drug use and sexual activities includes practical strategies and resources to reduce associated risks such as transmission of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne illnesses. Harm reduction is person-centered and focuses on the conditions and contexts of people’s lives in order to assist in meeting their self-identified goals. In the context of drug use, this may include safer drug use, reduced use, or abstinence from one or more substances. Using harm reduction with sexual practices reduces risks to maximize safety and pleasure, and honour consent.
Some examples of harm reduction practices and resources offered through AVI programs include: distribution of safer drug use and safe sex supplies (sterile needles, heat-resistant glass pipes, condoms); recovery of used needles from the community; overdose prevention and response including access to take-home naloxone; information and support around safe drug use and safer sex; welcoming and non-stigmatizing spaces for people who use illicit drugs, sex workers, people living with HIV and Hepatitis C, LGBTQ2IQ and all members of our diverse communities.