For Immediate Release
April 21, 2023
Free program provides HIV, STI and hepatitis testing, education, referrals and more
PITTSFIELD, MA — 2nd Street will host the Berkshire Harm Reduction Mobile Unit on Friday, April 28 from 1-2 pm. Supported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Berkshire Harm Reduction Program at Berkshire Medical Center provides vital services to the community, including testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and Hepatitis C; sharps disposal and syringe service; overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution; and referral to additional community support services.
The mobile unit travels across the Berkshires to provide services in a supportive and nonjudgmental manner in areas where transportation is challenging for the client. All services are free and do not require proof of insurance.
“The primary goal of Berkshire Harm Reduction programs is to reduce the negative consequences associated with substance use. This includes reducing overdose deaths and stopping the spread of infectious disease such as HIV and hepatitis,” said Berkshire Harm Reduction Program Manager Sarah DeJesus. “Transportation is often a barrier for people to access these services, so the mobile unit is able to bring services into the community. The 2nd St. location has been a valuable resource in improving care, access and treatment.”
The Berkshire Harm Reduction program provides:
- HIV testing to individuals seeking knowledge of their HIV status, as well as health education and prevention, with referrals to infectious disease specialists as needed.
- Testing, risk reduction education and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, with referrals for support services as needed.
- Hepatitis education, testing, treatment and case management for individuals who are at high risk for infection.
- A sharps disposal depository for used syringes, lancets and other devices that puncture the skin. Individuals must bring sharps in a puncture-resistant container, such as a bleach or laundry detergent container, a soda or juice bottle, or a standard sharps container.
- A syringe service program that provides safe injection education to individuals with substance use disorder, as well as clean equipment and syringes.
- Overdose education and naloxone (Narcan) distribution.
About 2nd Street
Second Street Second Chances, Inc., better known as 2nd Street, supports formerly incarcerated persons in Berkshire County and connects them with the tools, programs and support they need to successfully reenter their community. 2nd Street is committed to treating formerly incarcerated individuals with respect and encouragement; providing them with job readiness skills and access to employment opportunities; preparing them to become productive and contributing citizens; and educating and advocating for communities to embrace them as such. Services and referrals include medical and mental health resources, substance use disorder services, financial resources and literacy, transportation, family reunification, housing, job training and employment, and legal services. Visit 2nd Street at www.2nd-street.org.