When you join a Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) — like Evergreen Health’s in Buffalo and Jamestown— you become protected in more ways than one.
Exchanging old or dirty needles for clean syringes not only reduces the chance of getting HIV, Hepatitis C, other viruses or infection, it also provides you with a level of legal protection. Syringe possession — without being enrolled in an SEP — is a crime in New York state.
Joining is easy and can be anonymous.
When you ask to join our Syringe Exchange, you will be given access to clean syringes and injection works, along with an SEP identification card. We respect your privacy; you don’t have to provide your name or any contact information to be part of the program. Additionally, the ID card we use is special to Evergreen and no personal information will ever be given to police about SEP members.
Here’s where your SEP card comes in.
If you are ever stopped by police with syringes on you, show them your SEP card. There is a 24/7 number to call that will connect them to an SEP employee at Evergreen, who will confirm you are enrolled in our program.
Reminder: SEP membership does not protect you from charges for drugs or other drug-related items. But you will not catch a charge for the syringes.
We’ll be there for you.
Joining our SEP also connects you to services that include Narcan/overdose prevention training, HIV and Hep C testing, medication-assisted treatment (if interested), and educational and support groups.
To learn more about our Syringe Exchange program and harm reduction model, visit www.evergreenhs.org.
Since Evergreen was founded, we have dedicated our services to those who many feel uncomfortable, misunderstood, or judged at mainstream health care providers.
We’ve expanded across WNY — from Buffalo to Jamestown and the Southern Tier — to offer programs and services to under-served and stigmatized communities. And we’ve become a leader in many areas of care, including health care for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Evergreen is proud to have received an HEI score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign for LGBTQ+ health care policies and procedures.
Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) is the national LGBTQ benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. –Human Rights Campaign
We offer specialized care and support for our patients in the LGBTQ+ community, including mental health counseling, transition assistance, housing, food pantry and more.
You can view all of our ratings from the Human Rights Campaign here.
For more information about Evergreen Health, the communities we serve in WNY and the services we offer, visit evergreenhs.org.
At Evergreen Health, we pride ourselves on helping people get to where they want to be in their lives and with their health. The Transportation Services Program takes this mission a bit more literally than most of us, helping patients get to and from the medical appointments and other supportive services.
After all, getting to and from medical appointments is the first part of becoming — and staying — healthy.
Chris is the Transportation Coordinator at Evergreen. She processes patient requests for bus passes or tokens. “Addressing a patient’s transportation needs helps them to achieve a better quality of life, physically, mentally and emotionally,” she said. “I’ve had patients who were going through more than they could handle. Linking them with services — and providing transportation to get to those services — made it possible for them to find support and build relationships that benefit their overall health.”
Providing transportation services helps our patients take control of their own health.
Something as simple as reliable transportation can have a huge impact on the lives — and health — of our patients, but Chris notes that it’s about more than just getting to and from their medical appointments. “The TSP helps patients access a wide variety of important services that aren’t covered by their insurance benefits,” she said. This can include food pantries, social services, health education services, the pharmacy and other medical services.
“I get to work with our patients to help them find support and stable ground. Being a part of their success in finding their own path in a safe and healthy way makes it all worth it.”
Evergreen Health provides comprehensive health care for under-served and stigmatized communities throughout WNY. To learn more, visit www.evergreenhs.org.
Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed or have been living with HIV for years, finding and receiving care can seem scary and confusing.
Sometimes it’s just hard to get to an appointment or fill your prescription. Evergreen Health knows this and will work with you — wherever you are in WNY — to make receiving and staying in treatment as easy as possible.
Don’t know where to start?
Call our HIV Helpline at 716-541-0674 — it’s free and confidential! You’ll be connected to one of our team members who will personally help you find and receive the care you need, including:
- Finding a doctor
- Getting prescriptions
- Getting to and from appointmets
- Finding housing and paying rent
- Receiving other supportive services, like counseling, alcohol and substance use support, social and therapeutic groups, and more.
We’re here to help you feel better!
Care is just a phone call away.
Evergreen Health has offices in Buffalo and Jamestown, and works with communities across WNY. To learn more about the services we offer, visit evergreenhs.org.
Chris is Evergreen Health’s Disease Intervention Specialist at our Testing and Sexual Health Center in Buffalo. Chris is on-site to help those newly diagnosed with HIV or an STI recall partners and contacts so he can notify them. The notification process is completely anonymous. Partners are not told the identity of the patient or any details of the possible exposure.
Here’s how it goes.
“My role, in conjunction with the DOH, is to notify and counsel patients and their partners who have been in contact with or exposed to STIs,” explained Chris. “I talk to patients to identify exposure dates and partners, and I research medical history to assist the medical staff with treatment.” Chris also makes referrals to link patients with any other care they may need, through Evergreen or another provider.
“It’s a great feeling when I contact a partner over the phone and they come in and get tested or treated,” said Chris. “Patients are already stressed about having to deal with a new life-changing medical condition, and anything I and Team Evergreen can do to help them and their partners take some of that burden off their shoulders, we will. Also, every partner that is treated means less risk of spreading the infection in the community.”
It’s all about harm reduction.
“We accept that people are having sex. Sometimes they’re going to have STIs, too. Letting someone know right away that we can help them and tell the people that may have been exposed is a huge relief for them, and it’s immediate,” said Matt, AVP of Enhanced Medical Services, who oversees the program. “It’s also a service to the people we notify, who may not have experienced any symptoms and who can now access appropriate treatment as quickly as possible, increasing their chances of good health and reducing the risk of further transmission.”
“The more we all talk in a sex positive manner and acknowledge that everyone has the right to make their own choices around their sexual health, the more we’ll continue to decrease the stigma that exists around STIs in general,” said Matt. “We’re working toward a time when people don’t feel angry or embarrassed if they receive a call that they may have been exposed.”
Evergreen’s Embedded Partner Program (EPP) is a one-year pilot program in partnership with the New York State Department of Health. To learn more about Evergreen Health and its services, visit www.evergreenhs.org.