Community Pop-Up Clinics
Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre
The Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre’s (VIDC) Community Pop-Up Clinics (CPCs) offer HIV and hepatitis C treatment and point-of-care testing at various drop-in centres, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens in and around Vancouver, especially in the city’s Downtown East Side. Addressing a population heavily affected by HIV and Hep C, the CPCs reach out to clients not currently engaged in healthcare, and meet their social, psychological, addiction-related and medical needs. The clinics were started in March 2013 by VIDC President and Medical Director, Dr. Brian Conway, and General Manager, Nurse Shawn Sharma, to expand their reach to those in need of treatment and testing, and, ultimately, help control the spread of infectious diseases.
Using a community-based, multidisciplinary approach to testing, treatment, and care, the clinics facilitate access to services and help bring people into the healthcare system. Services include a quick cheek-swab test for the presence of antibodies to HIV and HCV and on-site counselling. “The CPCs use medical outreach as a tool of positive social change for the most vulnerable among us.” says Dr. Conway. “As more practitioners come to understand that we mean to be complementary and to enhance existing services, we are beginning to fit in and make a difference.”
With 7 sites around the city’s downtown core, a program at InSite, as well as a monthly program in Williams Lake, the CPCs have been hugely successful and have seen nearly 2,000 clients access their services since inception. And the numbers keep growing. The CPCs are also the only program of its kind in Canada providing facilitated access to clinical trials of new hep C treatments for active drug users. Additionally, VIDC is beginning to offer training to other Canadian sites to learn and adapt the CPC model for their own communities.