Casa Segura's education and prevention programs are based on the harm reduction model. They are designed to promote changing risky behaviors and taking steps to protect against HIV and Hepatitis C. We encourage people who participate in our programs to share what they learn with their partners and/or peers.
Our non-judgmental approach lets us meet people where they are in their lives, so they can begin to make positive changes that improve their situations.
Casa Segura is one of only three organizations that offer outreach at encampments, parks, homeless shelters and residential programs. Our team visits the areas in Oakland where injection
"It helps me learn more about infectious diseases. I get housing information, and I meet different people."
—Support Group Participant
drug users (IDUs) gather and live. We give them information about how to avoid infection, take care of their veins and prevent overdose.
We encourage IDUs to use our needle exchange program, so they can get sterile syringes. Our goal is to transition them from the streets, to exchange sites and, ultimately, to our drop-in center where they can get additional services.
We talk with people one-on-one about how to reduce the risk of HIV and Hepatitis C infection and, if they are HIV positive, how to keep from spreading the disease to others. We stress the importance of knowing their status, and encourage them to take advantage of our services. As people begin to reduce their risk, we support them through transition and refer them to services such as affordable housing and mental health care.
Educational Support Groups
We hold structured group sessions every Friday from 12 noon – 2 p.m. at our drop-in center. These sessions provide useful information on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. Participants range from people who know their HIV and/or Hepatitis C status to those who don't want to get tested and need to hear a peer's perspective to encourage them to seek testing services.
The upbeat, inclusive atmosphere of our support groups encourages an open dialog. Participants also have access to all of our drop-in center services. No registration is necessary.
Harm Reduction Workshops
When three or more needle exchangers get together, we hold an unstructured workshop on topics that range from safer injection techniques to identifying behaviors that prevent infection. These workshops are more like a conversation where we encourage participants to share information with their peers. This keeps IDUs at our needle exchange locations longer, which ensures they receive more non-exchange services.
Overdose Prevention Training
We teach needle exchangers how to help someone who is experiencing an overdose. We give them naloxone (a drug used to counter the effects of opiate overdose) and show them how to administer it. This service helps IDUs identify at least two factors related to overdose and gives them the ability to act in an emergency. This technique has been proven effective in preventing an average of two overdoses per month.
Harm Reduction Awareness Training
Casa Segura provides harm reduction awareness/education training for local political and public health officials. Members of our staff also serve on a state-level, community planning committee, representing IDUs and harm reduction services.