This is International Screening Week and the AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area (ACNBA) is promoting its testing services.
An HIV testing event is taking place at the committee office at 147 McIntyre Street West on Wednesday.
Saskia Hildebrandt, ACNBA Hepatitis C Treatment Nurse, says it’s all about helping people know their status.
“We could do a blood drop where we have what we call point-of-care test, a little finger poke and then you can actually know your status before you leave our office,” she says. “It’s a really quick test, it takes about five minutes to do and you can not have that anxiety of not knowing your status before leaving our office.”
Drop-ins are welcome or appointments can be booked by calling 705-497-3560.
Hildebrandt says testing has come a long way, but so too has treatment, with a single pill, once a day, for a lot of people.
“Your life expectancy would be the same as anybody else in Canada, which is amazing,” she says. “Part of it though is that people don’t know that and so there’s still a lot of stigma with an HIV diagnosis that there really shouldn’t be. It’s a chronic disease like a lot of other diseases and really treatable.”
Hildebrandt says their goals are to encourage testing and let people know that treatment is possible and break down that stigma.
Activities this week look to increase sexual health knowledge and see Canadians tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.