Last year, only 6% of Manitobans got an HIV test.1 On Wednesday, June 27, National HIV Testing Day will be marked in Manitoba for the first time, and health care providers want to see that number rise. That’s why the Manitoba HIV Collective Impact Network and the Manitoba HIV Program have brought together representatives from public health and primary care to promote Testing Day in all health regions, and in every First Nations community throughout the province.
“Getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBIs) is an important part of every person’s health care,” says Mike Payne, Executive Director of Nine Circles Community Health Centre, and Administrative Lead of the Manitoba HIV Program. “A lot of times, both individuals and care providers make assumptions about who is at risk of HIV, but the reality is, HIV can impact anyone. If you don’t know your HIV status, get tested, whether you think you’re at risk or not.”
Getting tested for HIV/STBBIs can be as simple as asking for the tests during a routine doctor’s visit or visiting a testing clinic. At Nine Circles, STI Testing Nurses start with an assessment, going through a series of questions to make sure each client is given the best screening and recommendations tailored for them. Then, they may do a physical exam and a combination of blood, urine or swabs may be taken. Most sexually transmitted and blood borne infections can be cured. Others can be managed with treatment so people can live normal lives.
“Consistently in Manitoba, we have people testing positive for HIV who have had the virus for quite some time,” say Dr. Ken Kasper, Infectious Disease Specialist and Director of the Manitoba HIV Program. “Late diagnosis and delaying the start of HIV treatment can have negative impacts on the health of individuals, and can impact prevention as well, as HIV transmission occurs most often when people don’t know they’re living with HIV.”
HIV/STBBI testing will be available at various sites across the province on Wednesday, including Nine Circles’ walk-in testing clinic, which runs from noon-7pm at 705 Broadway in Winnipeg. For more information visit ninecircles.ca/testing-treatment.
1Cadham Provincial Laboratory
Testing is available in many places across the province, including the following sites. You can also ask your health care provider for a test!
Nine Circles Community Health Centre
705 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB
Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre (AHWC)
181 Higgins Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba
Klinic Community Health
870 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Women’s Health Clinic
419 Graham Avenue, Unit A
Nor’West Co-op Community Health Centre
103-61 Tyndall Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Mount Carmel Clinic
886 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
240 Powers St., Winnipeg, Manitoba
6-845 Dakota Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba
STI screening via walk-in clinic
Brandon Public Health
Town Centre, A5 – 800 Rosser Avenue
Sexual Health Line (204) 578-2513
7th Street Health Access Centre
20 7th Street, Brandon, Manitoba