This link remained regardless of whether women accessed other out-patient addiction treatment services known to increase referral, including alcohol and drug counselling or methadone maintenance therapy. The study also showed that the MAP van users were significantly more likely than women not using the MAP van to work in isolated outdoor spaces such as alleys or industrial settings, suggesting the van is reaching the most marginalized women in street-based sex work.
"Outreach programs based on harm reduction principles work," said Kate Gibson, executive director of WISH and a co-author of the study. "By reaching women when and where they work, the MAP van is reducing barriers to services and providing a safe environment to access support, information, referrals to health and social services, and harm reduction supplies such as condoms."
Sheri Kiselbach, PACE violence prevention coordinator and former sex worker who has worked on the MAP van, said these results confirm the importance of outreach and prevention strategies led by sex work agencies. "We need to extend these types of services, not cut them back," said Kiselbach.
The MAP van has been in operation since 2003 through a coalition of local, provincial and federal governments and sex work agencies. It has struggled for continued funding until last year, when the B.C. government committed to two-and-a-half years of funding for this service. The MAP van was developed in response to high rates of violence, health-related harms, and murder among women in street-based sex work in Vancouver.
"Outreach interventions are an important means of bringing marginalized populations under the public health umbrella," said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC-CfE and chair in AIDS research at UBC's Faculty of Medicine. "These new results demonstrate yet another reason for the federal gov
|Contact: Brian Lin|
University of British Columbia