Saskatchewan is hosting its third annual Provincial HIV Testing Day on Thursday.
The province says there will be several testing locations set up throughout Saskatchewan to educate, test and help end the stigma around HIV.
Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker says the main goal around this day is to raise awareness around the importance of getting tested. “In Saskatchewan the estimates from 2016, based on the UN Aids 90-90-90 indicators, are that 30 percent of persons in Saskatchewan are unaware of their diagnosis.”
Werker says these people could be spreading the infection without even knowing. “You may be spreading that infection through your sexual practices or through sharing needle equipment, tattooing equipment, piercing equipment. So we do want people to know their status so they can take measures to prevent spread, but to also access treatment.”
She adds that a day like this needs to happen because there is still lots of mis-information around HIV. “We know that persons who are on treatments still think that they can spread that infection, that is not true. We know that persons when their HIV is controlled by treatment, they have a negligible to no risk to spreading that infection. So it is very important that people get diagnosed and get on treatment as soon as possible.”
Testing in Saskatchewan is free and confidential.
Click here for information on where the Provincial HIV Testing Day events are being held.
In 2019-20, the province provided $4.5-million to support HIV services in the Saskatchewan Health Authority and community-based organizations. An annual $1.1-million supports harm reduction programs which reduce transmission of HIV and other blood-borne infection. The province adds that full coverage of medications for HIV started April 11, 2018.