Health Canada estimates that one quarter of Canadians who are HIV positive don’t know that they have HIV. And of those who are diagnosed, 60 per cent of them become aware of their infection after they should already be on treatment.
Beginning fall 2011, as part of the Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention (STOP) of HIV/AIDS pilot project, all physicians and residents began offering their admitted patients at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital and UBC Hospital, an HIV test with their routine bloodwork.
The pilot is being phased in:
October 2011: Medicine and Nephrology units at PHC, Surgery units at PHC, Medicine units at VGH, Kidney Function Clinic at SPH
April 2012: Psychiatric Assessment Unit (PAU) & Health Centre at VGH
May 2012: Emergency Department at SPH
June 2012: VGH and UBCH Department of Surgery
June 2012: UBCH Psychiatry
Palliative & ICU patients are excluded from this pilot project.
Most people newly diagnosed with HIV have had many missed opportunities in health care for HIVdiagnosis. In fact, there are approximately 3,500 people in BC, who are infected but don’t know it.
Most patients are at very low risk and will have a negative test result, but everyone who has ever been sexually active is at some risk of HIV.
By implementing routine, provider initiated testing we will help reduce the stigma associated withHIV testing and improve testing uptake.
Like diabetes, there is no cure for HIV. But people with HIV who are diagnosed and treated can stayhealthy and are less likely to pass the virus on to others because the amount of virus in the body canbe controlled by medication. It’s up to us to identify those infected and help them access crucial treatment.
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