In recent years, Maine has experienced a growing need for services that address the needs of people struggling with opioid addiction. Maine Family Planning has an outreach program called the Reproductive Empowerment Project (REP).
Through the Reproductive Empowerment Project, our team of outreach educators partner with organizations already working with people experiencing substance use disorder and other life situations that may make accessing contraception challenging. These organizations include domestic violence programs, harm-reduction associations, and treatment centers for substance use disorder. The REP outreach educator collaborates with the organization’s staff to develop educational presentations on reproductive health, including contraceptive methods, harm reduction strategies, and STI/HIV prevention. The outreach educator provides confidential, on-site, one-on-one consultations with clients at these organizations.
At the end of every consultation, the client can choose to be connected with a Maine Family Planning Nurse Practitioner via a secure, HIPAA-compliant video platform. During this conversation, the nurse practitioner provides contraceptive counseling that can lead to a prescription for, and immediate provision of, an oral or injectable birth control method. This method will be provided by the outreach educator and, if a specific contraceptive is not available, the outreach educator will arrange to mail it to the client. The outreach educator provides optional risk assessments, STI/HIV testing, and pregnancy testing.
The outreach educator presents contraceptive methods that are available to clients. By engaging clients in a discussion about contraception use, clients are able to make educated decisions about their preferred method(s).
Communication about sexual health behaviors allows the client to assess their level of risk for STIs, HIV or pregnancy. This assessment helps evaluate their behavioral choices and explore ways to reduce harm.
If a client discloses behaviors that may have placed them at risk for STIs, they can ask to be screened for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and/or HIV.
If the client believes they might be pregnant, they may ask the outreach educator to provide a pregnancy test. If test results are positive, the educator can facilitate a comprehensive pregnancy options consultation.
If you are interested in learning about incorporating REP into your organization or know of another organization that might be a good fit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (207) 922-3222.