Evaluation of the ACE (Access, Care and Empowerment)
The issue: The Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program, WA Department of Health, has received Methamphetamine Action Plan (MAP) funding to design and pilot test a needle and syringe program (NSP) mobile app for people who inject drugs (PWID). The app responds to findings within the MAP Taskforce Final Report which recommended promoting greater awareness of NSPs to people who need these services. NSPs are based on an evidence-based, harm reduction approach and are a central plank in the public health response to HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B prevention and control.
Project summary: The ACE mobile app aims to provide education and harm reduction PWID, improve primary access to NSPs and need and syringe exchange programs (NSEP) and improve secondary access and referrals to other health services. The WA Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN) has been commissioned to conduct an impact evaluation on the ACE mobile app.
The evaluation comprises three stages:
A repeated cross-sectional survey of PWID accessing NSP services and/or using the app to provide a snapshot at two-time points.
A comparison of occasions of service and distribution of equipment provided by NSPs before and after launching the app.
A summative analysis of app analytics/trends after 18 months to monitor uptake of the app and changes in app usage as a result of promotional activities and app improvements initiated during the pilot.
Relevance for practice/policy: This research will evaluate the effectiveness of the ACE mobile app in increasing occasions of service with clients at NSPs, reducing receptive needle and syringe sharing, and increase equipment distribution.
Project funding: WA Department of Health, Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program
Who is involved? Dr Roanna Lobo, Dr Kahlia McCausland, Karina Reeves
What progress has the project made? Ethics approval, developed cross-sectional survey
Project website: https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/ACE-app