B.C. to encourage HIV tests as part of medical routine for adults

VICTORIA - British Columbia has become the first province in the country to recommend that HIV testing be part of the regular routine of tests offered to adult patients.

The new guidelines are part of an effort to diagnose those infected with HIV sooner to get them the life-saving treatment they need.

Provincial Health Minister Terry Lake even rolled up his sleeves to volunteer a blood sample to test his HIV status.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall says the routine testing has the potential to eliminate the virus in B.C. and they're encouraging health-care providers to urge patients to take the HIV test.

Currently, only pregnant women in B.C. are routinely offered HIV testing, and Lake says that program has come close to eliminating HIV transmissions from mothers to their children.

The minister says the testing guidelines reinforce the province's reputation of Canada's most aggressive HIV fighting jurisdiction and a model for United Nations HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

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