People living in the Interior Health region can expect to be offered an HIV test when receiving blood work at hospitals.
So far seven Interior Health emergency departments have started offering an HIV test routinely and additional sites, including Williams Lake, are expected to be on board in the coming months.
“B.C. is recognized as a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “While innovation and hard work have produced a consistent decline in new HIV diagnoses, people still need to be aware of their HIV status.”
The expanded testing is a part of the provincial Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS (STOP HIV/AIDS) program, which aims to reduce HIV transmission and improve the health outcomes of those living with HIV by offering widespread HIV testing, treatment, and early engagement into care, IH said.
“Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the number of new HIV infections in our region,” said Dr. Trevor Corneil, Chief Medical Health Officer with Interior Health. “Treatments available today can suppress HIV to undetectable levels and that greatly reduces the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others.”
Maja Karlsson, STOP HIV Program Implementation Leader said anyone who has ever been sexually active is at some risk of HIV.
Patients who test positive for HIV will be offered support and referred to appropriate care and treatment services.