Published: Thu, June 27, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

National HIV Testing Day event

National HIV Testing Day event

Thursday is National HIV Testing Day, and the Saskatchewan government wants you to make sure you know your status.

The Damien Center will be offering free and confidential HIV and STI testing on Thursday in Indianapolis from 8:30 a.m.to 5 p.m.at 26 North Arsenal Avenue.

The goal of the day is to effectively target groups disproportionately affected by the virus, said Richard Rainville, executive director of Reseau ACCESS Network.

More tools than ever are available to prevent HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and that number grows by almost 40,000 people each year.

Untreated, HIV can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS, and without proper care, people with AIDS typically survive about three years. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada's 2017 HIV Surveillance Report, there has been a 17.1 per cent increase in the number of new HIV infections in Canada between 2014 and 2017.

If not, free tests are available at Northwest Colorado Health, 745 Russell St.

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"Building on the success of a year ago, this event is truly about normalizing HIV testing, increasing Canadians' capacity to make informed decisions regarding their own health and decreasing stigma", said Gary Lacasse, executive director of the Canadian AIDS Society.

The theme is "Know Your Status" and this year it is promoting the "Undetectable = Untransmittable". "Babies born to HIV positive mothers are also at risk of contracting the virus".

"With the workers we have amongst us. we can really reassure them". "It is important for people to be aware of their status as it provides important information that can help keep them healthy". Pre- and post-test counselling will be provided to all participants to help determine their risk factors. "We have this service every week", said Medina. "Our one-minute HIV test is used anywhere from remote outreach settings to busy city testing events, helping to alleviate stigma and other barriers".

Werker said result times from the fairs and clinics will vary on the type of test that is administered.

"All in all, it ends up being a 15 to 20 min appointment depending on the conversations that they are having". In 2017, almost 24,000 individuals in Chicago were living with HIV, 15% of whom had not been diagnosed.

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