Almost 7,300 individuals are living with HIV in B.C. They take daily, oral medication said to be over 90 per cent effective in preventing the conversion to AIDS. In fact, approximately half of those with HIV achieved viral suppression through lifesaving medications. Last year, JCMC tested around 150 people. Health officials recommend that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once.
The drug has been available at no cost when requested through the BC-CfE for eligible British Columbians, including men who have sex with men, transgender women, people with ongoing relationships with HIV-positive sex partners and people who inject drugs with a known HIV-positive partner.
During HIV Testing Day, in some places, tests will be done using point-of-care testing (POCT) kits, which give results in less than a minute. Since 2011, more than 40,000 HIV tests have been conducted as part of the activation. The first 20 people who come in for an HIV test will receive a $10 Walmart gift card and have an opportunity to win one of two $50 Walmart gift cards, T-shirts and other prizes.
"Be proactive, take the test and be empowered to live a healthier sexual life" is the mantra of the Ministry of Health and its National AIDS Programme for its annual HIV National Testing Day Friday, June 29, from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m.at West Independence Square.
Local HIV and STD testing providers include the Washtenaw County Health Department, Planned Parenthood, UNIFIED - HIV Health and Beyond, and the Corner Health Center.
"Knowing your HIV status is so important, because there are treatment options available". The area including Boulder County had the second-highest rate of new HIV diagnoses.
"The only way to know for certain if you're HIV-positive is to get tested", Lacasse noted.
The Washtenaw County Health Department promotes health and works to prevent disease and injury in our community. If someone is exposed to the virus, it can help keep HIV from taking hold.
According to a media release, the event aims to reach "individuals at risk for HIV exposure who lack adequate sexual health resources and capacity for HIV testing, including members of the LGBTQ2 community, off-reserve Indigenous communities and people who use drugs".