I sat down with Dr. Mark Tyndall at the 21st Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research(CAHR) in Montreal this April. The theme of the conference was turning points and meeting new challenges. Tyndall is no stranger to confronting challenges and he is known as a national leader in HIV prevention and care. He worked for over a decade in Vancouver at UBC and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, also as the head of Infectious Diseases at St. Paul’s Hospital. He now calls Ottawa home and serves as the head of Infectious Diseases at the University of Ottawa.
“supervised injection sites have become a lightning rod of harm reduction, but we all know and recognize that they are a very important way to try and engage people in some kind of continuum of care…and the need is still quite large.”
Having been at the forefront of Vancouver’s supervised injection site (INSITE), Tyndall knows that supervised sites and harm reduction services need to be scaled up.
Tyndall says that there is a public health crisis in Ottawa, similar in some cases to what he saw in Vancouver a decade ago. The big question he asks is, do we need to repeat the same research process and make many of the same mistakes, or can we learn from places like Vancouver, Frankfurt, and Sydney and implement harm reduction and supervised injection sites efficiently. Tyndall was a speaker at a press conference we held in Montreal during CAHR looking at injection sites Nationally, and he also contributed to the Toronto Drug Strategy report that we wrote about this spring. Please get connected and leave your comments to let us know what you think needs to happen in your community.