Rapid, Point of Care and anonymous HIV testing - Ontario takes the lead in breaking down barriers



    Ontario has made a significant step in making rapid, point of care and
    anonymous HIV testing available and accessible in communities throughout
    the province.

    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ - The Ontario Government's announcement today of
rapid and reliable point of care testing for HIV to be offered this fall in 50
anonymous test sites, public health units' sexually transmitted infections
clinics and community health centres will help Ontarians have access to a
quick and completely anonymous HIV test, with supportive pre and post test
counselling.
    The free, rapid, point of care test which takes approximately 20 minutes
for the whole process, will break down the anxiety and barriers that people
may experience when considering an HIV test. Rapid testing eliminates the
anxiety of waiting 2 weeks for test results. It also reduces the time and
costs associated with making a needless second trip to a medical office.
    According to Joseph van Veen, Co-Chair of the Ontario AIDS Network,
"Ontario is demonstrating exemplary leadership in Canada in the fight against
HIV. We need more action and support from the Federal and other provincial
governments to help defeat HIV/AIDS in Canada."
    The tests will be offered with the consent of participants, and the free
tests and counselling provided both before and after the tests are given, will
help people know more about how to protect themselves and others from the risk
of HIV infection.
    Rick Kennedy, Executive Director of the Ontario AIDS Network calls this
"A proud day for Ontario. Anonymous HIV testing is especially important in
rural areas or communities where people often fear their HIV status becoming
known. Access to anonymous HIV testing and to rapid, point of care testing has
been a big issue. This is welcome news since it will encourage and support
more people from communities all over Ontario to be tested, and will
especially encourage those at high-risk, and anxious about testing, to test."
    Almost 25,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario, and more than
30% of them do not know their status. There is still no cure for AIDS, but
treatments are more effective. By knowing their HIV status, people can
maintain and protect their health.

    The Ontario AIDS Network is an association of 48 AIDS Service
Organizations and Programs working to establish a just and effective response
to HIV/AIDS.





For further information:

For further information: Rick Kennedy, Executive Director at (416)
364-4555 ext 308, rkennedy@ontarioaidsnetwork.on.ca

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ONTARIO AIDS NETWORK

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