February 22, 2016 - 10:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - If you’re looking to get tested for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, there’s a new confidential option which will allow you to get results without having to visit a doctor or nurse.
Interior Health Authority, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and LifeLabs will soon roll out the GetCheckedOnline pilot program, a Canadian online service which offers testing for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and hepatitis C, according to a media release from Interior Health.
"A person can have an STI without knowing because often there are no signs or symptoms. So if you are sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is one of the mostimportant things you can do to protect your health. GetCheckedOnline is a free and private way for British Columbians to get tested, and now more communities will be reached by this service,” Minister of Health Terry Lake says in the release.
Across the province, five communities were chosen for the service, including Kamloops and Nelson in the province’s interior. Duncan, Langford and Victoria will have the service on Vancouver Island.
To use the service, clients will create an account on the GetCheckedOnline website, answer a questionnaire on their sexual history and print a lab requisition which tests for various infections.
Patients then take their form to a local lab location and are notified by email when results are ready. If a client tests negative for all infections, those results can be viewed online. If someone tests positive for an infection, a B.C. Centre for Disease Control nurse will contact them for follow up and advise him or her on treatment.
“We know there are people who are reluctant to visit a clinic or physician’s office to get tested. This program removes barriers and makes it easier and more convenient. We hope that this new service will encourage more people to get tested and get tested more often. Finding out if you have an STI is a critical step in getting medical care and controlling the spread of infections to others,” Maja Karlsson, HIV and Health Outreach Manager for Interior Health, says.
GetCheckedOnline was developed after health authorities heard feedback from patients and health-care professionals. It ensures tests are done confidentiality and gives the best direction for follow up.
The site has been active in Vancouver for the last 16 months and over 400 people have accessed it. Depending on results of the pilot project in B.C., the website could expand to further locations in the province.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016