News

Vancouver pharmacies to offer free HIV testing

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - Two Vancouver pharmacies will soon offer customers free HIV tests that will provide results on the spot in less than five minutes.

Pharmacists at the Medicine Shoppe drugstores have been trained by HIV nurses from Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care to provide testing as part of a year-long pilot project.

Medical health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson says offering HIV testing at locations such as a pharmacy helps reduce stigma around testing and makes it more acceptable to people.

The pilot project will determine whether HIV testing in pharmacies can complement existing programs at community testing sites, hospitals, walk-in clinics and through family physicians.

The Medicine Shoppes — located at 2030 Kingsway Ave. and 6180 Fraser St. — are near a Pacific Medical Walk-in Clinic, where doctors will provide support to patients and link them to treatment if required.

An HIV-positive person taking prescribed medication is up to 96 per cent less likely to transmit the infection to others, but an estimated 3,500 people in B.C. are infected with the virus and don't know it.

"We see too many people who are newly diagnosed with HIV, but are already in the advanced stages of the disease," Gustafson said in a release Tuesday. "We can't stress enough how very crucial early treatment is for those infected. While HIV is a chronic infection, early treatment prolongs and improves people's lives and reduces transmission to others."

The pilot project is funded through the province's Seek and Treat for the Optimal Prevention (STOP) of HIV-AIDS program, which focuses on engaging British Columbians in HIV prevention, testing and care. The feasibility and effectiveness of the project will be evaluated over the next 12 months.

"B.C. is recognized as a global leader in the fight against HIV-AIDS and I believe that through bold action and smart investment we can remain leaders," B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake said. "This pilot is another step forward and will go a long way to improve early diagnosis and save lives."

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Arrests of pipeline protesters in Burnaby signal start of long battle
 
Election 2014: BCA scores hat trick of sweeps
 
Election 2014: Burnaby First suggests plan for new hospital
Operation Red Nose ready to hit the road for another season
 
Q&A: Ex-transportation ministers criticize referendum, discuss TransLink
 
Two police officers hospitalized after being rammed by stolen truck in Surrey
Hand over the driving reins to Operation Red Nose
 
Election 2014: Wright, McIntosh to get $70K for saying bye
 
Cloverdale Chamber calls off vote to join Vancouver Board of Trade

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.