AVOL Kentucky Receives $112,000 from Harm Reduction Coalition

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Lexington,Ky. (WTVQ) – AVOL Kentucky announced Wednesday it is one of 32 recipients of a HepConnect grant from the Harm Reduction Coalition.

Funding from this grant will be used to provide harm reduction services for people who use drugs (e.g. prevention supplies, outreach sites and support for mobile testing, and testing materials) and are at risk of contracting Hepatitis C.

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Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads through contaminated blood.

One of the most common ways of spreading Hepatitis C is by sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to prepare or inject drugs.

“AVOL Kentucky greatly appreciates the opportunity to partner with the Harm Reduction Coalition and the HepConnect Initiative to significantly reduce the spread of Hepatitis C within the segments of our community who are most at risk,” said Jon Parker, executive director of AVOL Kentucky. “We are committed to implementing strategic safeguards to decrease the number of cases we’re seeing annually.”

HepConnect is a regional initiative that focuses on the intersection of hepatitis C and drug use in five key states: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Under the HepConnect Initiative, Harm Reduction Coalition is making investments through grant-funding, building program capacity, supporting targeted outreach and education, providing boots-on-the-ground technical assistance, and convening stakeholders to strengthen local, state, and regional partnerships.

Monique Tula, executive Director of the Harm Reduction Coalition said “Communities in regions like Appalachia, the Midwest and the South are experiencing unprecedented outbreaks of HIV, hepatitis C and overdoses from opioids.

Without financial resources and legislative backing from state and federal governments, many of the hardest hit communities in these regions are unable to adapt comprehensive programs in a harm reduction framework.

This is why the HepConnect program and the investment from Gilead Sciences is so critical right now.

For more information on HepConnect or services offered by AVOL Kentucky, please contact Matt Brewer at 859-225-3000 x1030 or matt@avolky.org.