By Richard Stranz (Aides), Eurosider Project

Drugs users and community health workers (CHW) in France both expressed the need to have their reality of their work around injection practices legitimised and formalised as interventions being beneficial to the health of drug users (DU).

As a result back in 2009, a community-based research study, called AERLI (Accompagnement et éducation à la réduction des risques liés à l’injection), was instigated in France between AIDES, Médecins du Monde and the INSERM research institute. Its aim was to identify how CHW by being present at the moment of injection could improve DU health outcomes.

One aspect of this research was that the CHW were trained implement the research protocol. This protocol also standardised the steps of the intervention. These were transformed into a training manual.

The results of AERLI 1 published in 2016 proved that interventions at the time of injection reduced risky behaviour for infectious diseases (HIV and Hep C particularly) and also in the long term both as one off and if repeated (ref).

Since then, through training workshops very similar to the one laid out in this manual AIDES has been reinforcing the capacities of its own volunteers and salaried staff as well as from other organisations to implement this intervention adapting. It has also trained staff from other organisations.

From France to Europe.

The EUROSIDER project, a lighter version of the AERLI study, was carried out with the support of EU funding via DG JUSTICE call: JUST-2016-AG-DRUG.

The main objective of this project was to contribute to reducing the risk of HIV-HCV transmission and to better international Hepatitis C policy and practice by studying the transferability of an effective community-based, Individually-Tailored Support and Education for Safer Injection (ITSESI) intervention in four different political and epidemiological contexts.

As one of the deliverables of the project, this training manual resembles the one used during the training sessions implemented during the project.

It has been enriched with the feedback from the trainers in the four target countries Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal and Romania.