Do you know what your HIV status is? If you said no, unfortunately you are not alone.
While approximately 75,000 Canadians are living with HIV, one in five HIV–positive Canadians aren't aware of their status. New HIV infections in Canada increased in 2016 by 11.6 percent (or 2,344 new cases) from the previous year.
In an effort to boost awareness of HIV and increase testing, over 40 HIV/AIDS organizations across Canada will participate in National HIV Testing Day on Wednesday (June 27).
The day intends to reach members of groups at risk, including men who have sex with men (MSM), off-reserve Indigenous people, and drug users.
“The goal of the day is to effectively target groups disproportionately affected by the disease,” Health Initiative for Men executive director Greg Oudman stated in a news release.
In addition to a social-media awareness campaign, rapid HIV tests will be conducted which provide results within one minute. Counselling will be provided before and after the test to evaluate risk factors. If the results are positive, blood will be tested for other sexually transmitted infections.
A variety of locations around the Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be offering services to men.
In Vancouver, Health Initiative for Men (HIM) at 416–1033 Davie Street will offer testing from 4 to 9 p.m.
In East Vancouver, the REACH Community Health Centre (1145 Commercial Drive) is offering testing from 4 to 8 p.m.
In New Westminster, the Lower Mainland Purpose Society for Youth and Families (40 Begbie Street) will be testing men from 4 to 9 p.m.
In Surrey, the Surrey Opt Clinic (220–10362) will test men from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
In the Fraser Valley, although the Abbotsford Public Health Unit (104–34194 Marshall Road) won't be open on Wednesday, they can be contacted for testing (men only).
Organizations and clinics in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Burns Lake, and Prince Rupert are also participating.