Harm Reduction Services

Harm Reduction Counseling

Safety First Health Outreach Project

Safety First Outreach in UtidaACR's peer-based street outreach program, Safety First, serves to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by offering harm/risk reduction education, supplies, referrals, literature, and HIV testing to residents in targeted, high-risk neighborhoods. The program works by bringing the latest information on HIV/STDs/Hepatitis C transmission, HIV testing, and related services to at-risk individuals via ACR outreach workers, trained peer associates, harm reduction supplies, an information table, and on-site HIV Test Counselors. HIV prevention case management services targeted to communities of color and harm reduction services targeted to active substance users are offered at Safety First van sites in both Syracuse and Utica.

Safety First peer-delivered services are offered at approximately 20 neighborhood sites in Syracuse and Utica. Check the calendar for a location near you.

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Harm Reduction Counseling

Alcohol and drug abuse…an escape or a trap? It’s natural to want to avoid life’s anxieties. Many who use drugs and alcohol do so as a way to escape emotional pain or stress. Could this be you? Through counseling, ACR’s Harm Reduction Specialists provide street-based direct outreach to active substance users not in treatment. Active substance users are at a higher risk of becoming infected with HIV.

ACR's Harm Reduction Specialists travel with the Safety First van and provide individual and group level behaviorally based counseling services to active substance users. They provide HIV counseling and testing, and help clients get ready to make a change in their lives. They provide ongoing support throughout the waiting period for admission to a drug and alcohol treatment program.

Harm Reduction Counseling is free and available to individuals engaging in risky behavior, and an HIV+ diagnosis is not a prerequisite. However, counseling is a first step in the process after an HIV positive diagnosis. Some respond with despair to the news, and pre-existing alcohol and drug problems worsen, or fresh problems can arise as the newly diagnosed person struggles to deal with emotional pain and fear.

Harm Reduction Counseling helps the HIV+ person keep his or her diagnosis in perspective. Yes, many life changes are ahead, but new medications make it possible for HIV+ individuals to live more healthful, productive lives.

Recreational substance use takes a terrible toll on the body and health of HIV+ individuals, and seriously interferes with the efficacy of medications. AIDS Community Resources offers services free of charge to anyone exploring the impact substance abuse is having on his or her life. It is NOT a requirement to be ready to totally abstain from using and/or entering into treatment to participate in counseling.

You set the pace – we’ll help you along the way.

ACR’s Program lets the consumer set the pace and goals related to his or her substance use, while working with a credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor sensitive to HIV issues. For those ready to stop using, appropriate HIV sensitive treatment referrals can be made while providing emotional support for this effort.  Services include:

  • Individual support
  • Harm reduction supplies
  • Information
  • HIV counseling and testing

Access to Prevention Case Management services that assist with referrals for basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and safety.

Take the first step:Call 800.475.2430 or stop by our Safety First van to meet with a Harm Reduction Specialist.

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Safety First Outreach served 5,729 individuals in 2009.