HIV tests now part of most Emergency Department blood work

There are up to 15 per cent of “HIV-positive individuals who are unaware of their HIV status.”

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day—and it’s easier than ever to know your HIV status.

Since December 2018, an HIV test may be included with regular diagnostic blood work at Interior Health emergency departments.

Over the last five years, Interior Health has implemented STOP HIV/AIDS, a provincial program to expand access to earlier HIV testing and provide support for individuals to start and sustain HIV medication. When people are consistently taking HIV medications their viral load drops to an undetectable level, protecting their health by preventing progression to AIDS and AIDS-related premature deaths, and stopping transmission of the virus to someone else.

READ MORE: Interior Health and First Nations renew Partnership Accord

READ MORE: A four-storey supportive housing development on Agassiz Road was approved by council

“Routine HIV testing in the emergency department is one of the latest tools being used in Interior Health to end the HIV epidemic. Routine testing at a point-of-contact in the health-care system is targeted to detect those 15 per cent of HIV-positive individuals who are unaware of their HIV status,” said Dr. Michael Murphy, medical coordinator for the STOP HIV/AIDS program in Interior Health.

“I have personally treated patients who were unaware they were HIV positive and were diagnosed through testing in the emergency department.”

As with other routine blood work, patients who do not wish to have the test during their emergency visit may decline. According to Interior Health, there continues to be a stigma regarding HIV, so it is important to ensure the decision to opt out of the test is not due to misinformation.

“We see patients coming to the emergency department and needing bloodwork who have deteriorated health, and that’s exactly the criteria to indicate that patients should have an HIV test ordered. We have the perfect opportunity to help detect the 15 per cent of patients that are currently unaware of their HIV positive status,” said Dr. Jeff Hussey, an emergency department physician.

The STOP HIV/AIDS initiative has goals of outreach to marginalized groups, expanding access to early testing to diagnose those living with HIV in order to improve health outcomes and reduce transmission, and immediate and universal access to free antiretroviral therapy for all who are diagnosed HIV positive.

For more information about HIV testing, visit interiorhealth.ca.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s McCurdy house gets operation model redesign

No illegal drug use in supportive housing in Rutland community, B.C. Housing Minister says

UPDATE: Charges laid in West Kelowna assault

An arrest was made after RCMP plea for witnesses

West Kelowna man charged in gas station robbery

The 18-year-old was arrested after allegedly robbing a Huskey gas station on July 15

Kelowna RCMP seek info on hit and run

Red mustang strikes cyclist while taking U-turn near Bernard Avenue

Kelowna’s Okanagan Regional Library may not look like the one you grew up with!

New technology and arts programming transforms library operations

Canada Forces Snowbirds making quick trip to South Okanagan

Planes will be touching down at the Penticton airport to refuel

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Okanagan woman heads up college foundation board

Gladys Fraser of Vernon brings experience to role as chair of Okanagan College Foundation board

Stolen car now returned to Summerland dealership

Vehicle was stolen on same day as attempted carjacking incident

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Police recover $12,700 in stolen pet food from North Shuswap property

Chase RCMP execute third search of property where stolen vehicles, illegal firearms seized

Straight from DeHart

Partners come together to open new pub in Kelowna

Most Read