Main navigation english

Canadian Public Health Association

Can you identify and apply harm reduction strategies?

  • A Core Competency in the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBIs)

Raquel is a nurse who has just started a job at a community health centre that operates within a harm reduction model. Raquel was given very little training at the outset of her new job and once she begins seeing clients, she quickly realizes she doesn't fully understand how to apply harm reduction strategies. Raquel is afraid her lack of knowledge and training is impeding her ability to provide appropriate care to her clients.

Do you work in the area of sexual health or STBBI prevention and support? Can you identify and apply harm reduction strategies?

Use the questions below to help you self-assess your knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices related to harm reduction strategies. Remember that depending on your role, you may require different levels of proficiency for the various core competencies and it is possible that some of the competencies are not relevant to your work.

  1. Are you familiar with the harm reduction model and can you identify some of the strategies in using this approach?
  2. Do you recognize how your personal beliefs, values and assumptions can interfere with your ability to use harm reduction strategies with clients? 
  3. Can you name three harm reduction practices related to injection drug use that can reduce the risk of transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C?
  4. Can you identify some harm reduction initiatives that could be useful or have proven effective in your community (e.g., needle exchange and safer inhalation programs, education and counseling programs)?

Suggested resources:

This is one of a series of cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention. View all 26 cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention.

Have a resource to suggest? Let us know.