Self-testing kits available in Sudbury for people who might have HIV and want to know for sure

·2 min read

I'm Ready To Know is a position more and more people are putting themselves in as the campaign continues to end HIV in Canada. In Sudbury, the Réseau ACCESS Network is a pick-up point for test kits for individuals who suspect they have HIV and want to know for certain one way or the other.

The campaign is distributing 50,000 free HIV self-testing kits across Canada, said Réseau ACCESS Network. The campaign asks questions of the people who will use the kits, all through an innovative mobile app, to improve HIV testing and care, said the news release.

Réseau ACCESS Network is a non-profit, community-based charitable organization in Sudbury, committed to promoting wellness, harm and risk reduction and education. Réseau ACCESS Network supports individuals — and serves the whole community — in a comprehensive / holistic approach to HIV/AIDS, Hep C and related health issues.The I’m Ready campaign also includes support for program participants through I’m Ready, Talk, a secure telehealth service designed to support self-testers with connections to resources and care.

Réseau ACCESS said the campaign has the potential to be a game-changer for ending the HIV epidemic in Canada and have significant impacts here locally in the Sudbury/Manitoulin area too.

"The agency was eager to partner with this program as it will offer a new option for individuals seeking access to testing. As a pick-up location for the self-test, (we) will be providing program participants in our community with an additional option to accessing HIV testing and treatment, which is fitting given our mandate is to support individuals — and the whole community — in a comprehensive / holistic approach to HIV/AIDS, Hep C and related health issues," said the release.

Réseau ACCESS said the program aims to reach people who are undiagnosed as well as to collect important data about HIV testing and care.

The self-test kit, known as the INSTI HIV Self Test is very similar to the rapid point-of-care test you may be familiar with that is administered at a health clinic or your doctor’s office, and is produced by the same manufacturer, bioLytical. It’s also similar to other home self-tests, not unlike a pregnancy test: you do the test on yourself and see the results within minutes, said the I'm Ready website.

To do the test, you prick your finger for a single drop of blood using materials that are in the kit, follow the kit’s instructions to mix and use the other materials included in the kit, and then read your results. It can take a little as one minute to do the self-test from start to finish, said the website.

Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com

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