The 601

Description of Program

What is the intervention/program/project?
The program operates out of a drop-in centre in Saskatoon and three satellite rural locations. The program consists of integrated components: individual supports, prevention education and drop-in services.
The basic premise is that instead of going into the community with an agenda to communicate information about HIV transmission, the organization listens to where people ‘are at’ and seeks to meet them there.  In order to engage people in HIV prevention, the organization has learned to engage them first in their housing, food security, basic needs and immediate urgencies. Once these needs are met, people stay in the program and are receptive to HIV prevention information.                 
What is the goal/objective of the intervention/program/project?
The goal of the program is to get factual, straightforward information about HIV to individuals who access the program because they are either at risk or HIV positive. The program recognizes that people need information and resources to protect themselves. People who are not currently positive and might be at risk are more likely to get tested, speak openly, and experience less despair if they have accurate information. The reduction of stigma is an additional program goal.
Ultimately, the program staff would like to see people living with HIV enjoying the most supportive, healthy lives as possible, and people who do not have HIV given the information and tools to remain that way.
Why was the intervention/program/project originally developed?
The program began with a drop-in centre in Saskatoon, which was named after the street address because people accessing the program did not want to be ‘outed’ as living with HIV.
The centre was opened in 2001 by mothers of gay men. Now, the majority of people contracting HIV are street-involved, use illicit drugs, are not eating well and do not have homes. Many are Aboriginal Peoples. The program is reflective of HIV in Saskatchewan and has been structured to adapt to changing needs. The program now offers prevention programming and supports, such as a laundry service, resource centre, meals and a needle exchange.
The 601 concept and model has been successful in connecting with a population that is difficult to reach. After many years in Saskatoon, the organization was solicited to open satellite centers in rural areas, beginning in 2010.
How was the intervention/program/project developed?
The organization draws its direction from how people define their needs in rural areas. It has developed organically based on feedback from people who participate and are at risk in the community. The key concept in rural satellites is to meet community where its need is. The organization goes to communities to identify needs around prevention education as a first step in program development.


AIDS Saskatoon

Program Type

  • Community
  • Education
  • Harm reduction
  • Individual
  • Counselling
  • Education
  • Harm reduction

Populations Served

  • Indigenous peoples
  • People living with HIV/AIDS
  • People who use drugs
  • Service providers

Contact Information

Name: Heather Byrne                 
Position: Executive Director
Phone: 306.242.5005

Location Information: 

Yorkton (Eastern Saskatchewan), Prince Albert, La Ronge (Northern Saskatchewan) and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan



Resources for Program


  • HIV prevention resources from CATIE.


  • Finances to support free provision of services (coffee, sugar, whitener, nutrition, laundry, internet (to break isolation), and any other necessities are required).                  
  • Transportation to take people to and from appointments.


  • Social workers.
  • Staff.
  • Individuals for person-to-person support.

Start Date





Audience/client feedback and satisfaction

  • The organization evaluates programs through people who participate. A satisfaction survey is administered every year to ensure that messages are communicated well and peoples’ needs are met.

Output tracking

  • Number of clients served.

Process monitoring

  • Number of clients enrolled.

Outcomes evaluation

  • Participants in workshops and panels geared at service providers and health care professionals evaluate whether methods are effective, what has been learned. A yearly external evaluation of the drop-in centre is conducted.

Evaluation Terms

Audience/client feedback and satisfaction, Outcome evaluation, Output tracking, Process monitoring or evaluation