June 26, 2019

Know Your Status: HIV Testing Day Declared in Saskatchewan

June 27 is the third annual Provincial HIV Testing Day.

“This day serves as a good reminder to the public and health care providers that HIV testing and counseling should be considered at least once every five years in all adults; more frequently based on a person’s risk factors,” Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker said.  “HIV is manageable and with early diagnosis and treatment, people infected with HIV can have long and productive lives and reduce the risk of transmission to others.”

On HIV Testing Day, testing will be available in several locations throughout the province, including public venues.  To find an event near you, visit https://skhiv.ca/hiv-awareness-events/.

“We commend the organizers of these events for their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of testing, early diagnosis and treatment, and reducing the stigma associated with HIV,” Werker said.

A person infected with HIV and whose infection has not been controlled by treatment can spread HIV to others regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic origin.  HIV is spread through unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex, or through sharing of drug using, tattooing, piercing, or acupuncture equipment.  A woman living with untreated HIV may also transmit the infection to her child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.

Testing is free, confidential and available across the province.  Residents can get an HIV test through their physician, nurse practitioner, local public health office or testing clinic.  Information about HIV and testing, including testing locations, is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/hiv and www.skhiv.ca.  For information on HIV the public can also call HealthLine 811.

In 2019-20, the Government of Saskatchewan provided $4.7 million to support HIV services in the Saskatchewan Health Authority and community-based organizations.  In addition, an annual $1.1 million supports harm reduction programs which reduce the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne infections.  Full coverage of medications for HIV came into effect April 11, 2018, eliminating financial barriers to treatment.