Outreach with Vulnerable Populations

Publication Summary

Overview of NCCID’s work to date related to planning of HIV/STBBI outreach.



Key Points:

  • Outreach can be a valuable strategy at the individual level, for preventing sexually transmitted and bloodborne infectious (STBBIs) including HIV in vulnerable populations. This is because outreach can deliver services and information to populations that normally would not be aware of or be able to access services due to their life circumstances.
  • At a broader level, outreach can promote positive changes in individual behaviours and also in the wider community by shifting “norms” that inform these behaviours.
  • The purpose of NCCID’s Outreach Planning Guide was to address gaps in existing knowledge about how to best plan programs and services for outreach. The Guide provides a high level theoretical and operational framework based on the best available evidence, and consultation with outreach workers and program planners.
  • The framework for program planning presented in the Guide is grounded in the principles of harm reduction, and the theories of behaviour change, and social determinants of health; all of which contribute to individual health-related
  • behaviours.
  • There are 4 steps in the Guide’s outreach program planning framework: 1) assessment, 2) planning, 3) implementation, and 4) evaluation. The model is centred upon the context within which the services are delivered and highlights the importance of constantly adapting programming to suit the changing needs of clients. Outreach programming is iterative.
  • The final version of the Guide was introduced at a series of workshops, which were attended by 94 individuals representing every province and territory. The purpose of the workshops was to demonstrate how the Guide could be used in practice, and to obtain feedback on needs for outreach services that were still outstanding. These needs are in the process of being addressed by NCCID.