Blood being drawn for a blood test used to screen for illnesses like HIV-AIDS

Blood being drawn for a blood test used to screen for illnesses like HIV-AIDS

St. John Hospital to begin regular HIV testing.

Northern Health and the St. John Hospital in Vanderhoof are beginning regular HIV-AIDS screening.

British Columbia’s Northern Health authority is in the early stages of introducing routine HIV-AIDS testing as part of regular healthcare screening in northern British Columbia.

The routine screening will be introduced to Vanderhoof’s St. John Hospital, Fort St. James’ Stuart Lake general hospital and Fraser Lakes’ community health centre.

The decision follows a 2014 decision set out by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia’s HIV testing guidelines which suggests that all citizens between the ages of 18 and 70 years of age be tested every five years for HIV-AIDS.Reports also suggest those in high-risk population groups, such as intravenous drug users and gay men, be tested annually.

The new testing in Vanderhoof is significant as prior to the new initiative the onus for discovering your HIV-AIDS status was entirely on the patient. Patients had to take the initiative to approach their doctor and request a HIV test.

There are an estimated 12, 000 HIV positive people living in British Columbia today according to a report by the Provincial Health Officer. 300-400 new diagnosis are made each year.

Contrary to popular belief, HIV-AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was, assuming those affected by the illness are diagnosed and treated quickly.  Unfortunately, this is often not the case, says St. John Hospital head nurse Heather Floris  “I think a lot of people think that HIV is a death-sentence, so they try to keep it under wraps,” she says.

According to the provincial health officer 17 per cent of those diagnosed are already in the advanced stage of the illness.

Ignorance is another contributing factor to the spread of HIV-AIDS with 54 per cent of transmissions coming from those who are unaware of their status.

“One of the main reasons for this is that there are people who who do not know they have HIV,” Floris says of the new testing guidelines. “We’re trying to reduce the stigma so that people are not afraid to get tested, because the earlier you’re tested, the earlier you’re diagnosed and the the earlier you can start taking medication and live life fully.”

April Hughes, the Health Services administrator with Northern Health says that by normalizing testing it allows for increased vigilance and awareness. “It becomes routine,” she says. “That was we can pick up on people who have it but don’t know that they do.”

A similar initiative was employed by the lower mainland’s Vancouver Coastal Health authority in 2011. The project there found that 94 per cent of patients agreed to be tested for HIV-AIDS.

Similarily, Prince George introduced a routine HIV-AIDS testing initiative available for any patients who were having blood work performed through the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in Dec. 2013.

 

The new testing is a part of the From Hope to Health: Towards an AIDS-free Generation initiative and iss being funded by British Columbia’s Ministry of Health. Northern HEalth is looking to have routine HIV-AIDS testing in all northern communities by 2016.

 

 

Just Posted

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read