StepUP Pretoria, a project of TB/HIV Care and implemented by OUT LGBT Well-being, aims to demonstrate the feasibility of providing a core package of evidence-based HIV prevention and harm reduction services to people who inject drugs (PWID) in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria (Tshwane).
The Pretoria division of the StepUP Project is located in Hatfield and makes use of OUT’s TEN81 Clinic, which offers free sexual health and HIV services to key population groups, including PWID.
Why is StepUP needed?
Drug use plays a substantial role in the growth of the South African HIV epidemic and PWID are at disproportionately higher risk for HIV infection and onward transmission compared to the general population.
The South African National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB (2012 – 2016) includes specific objectives to reduce HIV infections among people who use drugs (PWUD).
Other national drug related policies (notably the Central Drug Authority’s National Drug Master Plan and the National Department of Health’s (NDOH) Mini Drug Master Plan) highlight the need for interventions for HIV prevention and harm reduction for PWID where evidence supports this need.
What does StepUP do?
The StepUP Project offers a core package of services. These are endorsed by: PEPFAR, WHO, UNAIDS, UNODC, the UN General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board and the Global Fund.
They also comply with all South African laws and form part of the evidence based interventions described in the National Drug Master Plan and Department of Health Mini-Drug Master Plan. The following services are offered in Pretoria:
- Peer based outreach;
- A mobile unit that goes out to service clients;
- Needle and syringe distribution, collection and disposal;
- HIV counselling and testing;
- Referral for antiretroviral therapy and HIV care and support;
- Prevention of, screening, treatment and/or referral for treatment of STIs;
- Condom and lubricant distribution;
- Targeted information, education and communication for PWID and their sexual partners;
- Prevention, screening and referral for diagnosis and treatment of TB;
- Referral for drug use disorder treatment and Opioid substitution therapy (OST) therapy where these services exist;
- Prevention, screening and testing for hepatitis B and C (where funding allows);
- The StepUP Project hopes to add OST to the core package of services. Currently the project is not able to support OST medication, but is exploring financial options.
The StepUP Team
The StepUP Project is funded by CDC, PEPFAR, Mainline and the TB/HIV Care Association.