Published on March 02, 2022

MaineGeneral awarded $100,000 by NASTAD and AIDS United to continue work to support people who use drugs amid COVID-19

The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and AIDS United recently announced the first tier of grantee recipients of their new joint initiative in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MaineGeneral Medical Center is one of 49 harm reduction organizations across the country to receive funding from “Expanding Syringe Services Programs Capacity to Respond to COVID-19.”

“These organizations are too often under-resourced in the fight to end the HIV epidemic and to support the health of people who use drugs,” said Jesse Milan Jr., AIDS United president and CEO. “We are proud to support their work to provide COVID-19 vaccination, education, testing and expanded services for their communities. The devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with syringe services programs’ (SSP) quick responses underscores what we have long known: SSPs are a vital, front-line public health lifeline in our work to end the HIV epidemic.”

This one-year demonstration project aims to strengthen the capacity of SSPs to serve as critically essential access points for COVID-19 vaccination services, general COVID-19 response interventions and broadened adult vaccination services for people who use drugs.

“We are very grateful to NASTAD and AIDS United for this grant to help people with substance use disorders get the care they need,” said Chuck Hays, president and CEO of MaineGeneral. “We will use this funding to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics for clients of MaineGeneral Harm Reduction and purchase COVID-19 rapid tests for high-risk individuals receiving harm reduction services in congregate communities like mental health facilities and homeless shelters. We will also hire an outreach worker to provide targeted education, resources and support for Hepatitis (A, B and C) and COVID-19. Our goal is to meet people where they are and help clients get connected to care.”

To learn more about MaineGeneral Harm Reduction, visit Harm Reduction | Maine | MaineGeneral.

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