Island Health introduces online testing for STIs, HIV

Victoria residents now have a new, more private way to get checked for sexually-transmitted infections and HIV.

Victoria residents now have a new, more private way to get checked for sexually-transmitted infections and HIV.

GetCheckedOnline is the first online service in Canada where residents in Victoria, Langford and Duncan can acccess confidential online testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syhpilis, HIV and hepatitis C.

Traditionally, patients must go to a doctor, walk-in clinic or a sexually-transmitted infection clinic to get tested for such infections.

As part of the pilot project between the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, Island Health and LifeLabs, patients can now create an account, answer a sexual history questionnaire and print a laboratory requisition for testing.

Users then to go a participating LifeLabs location to give specimens and are notified by email when their results are ready.

If results are negative, they can be viewed online. Patients with positive or inconclusive results will be contacted by a nurse to arrange follow-up and appropriate treatment.

“What it does is allow the individual to request testing from the privacy of their own home,” said Sophie Bannar-Martin, regional manager of STOP HIV and bloodborne diseases with Island Health, adding it adds confidentiality to a sensitive topic, especially among younger generations.

“It provides another opportunity within a broader constellation of testing services for people to access testing in a way that feels more suitable, relevant and comfortable for them.”

According to Dr. Dee Hoyano, medical health officer with Island Health, sexually-transmitted infections such as chlamydia and syphilis are on the rise on Vancouver Island and across Canada within the last 10 years.

“With syphilis in particular, it’s a recent growth in B.C. particularly with men who have sex with men. Chlamydia rates are more general but they do tend to affect younger adults,” Hoyano said, adding technologies have improved leading to more people being properly tested and diagnosed.

“It’s important that people are getting tested and treated so that they’re not getting ill from it and spreading it on to others.”

In 2014, there were 259 cases per 100,000 of people with chlamydia in the south Island and 5.6 cases per 100,000 of people with syphilis.

GetCheckedOnline began on the Mainland and saw 986 accounts created, which led to 456 people getting tested and 12 positive diagnoses from September 2014 to February 2016.

For more information visit getcheckedonline.com.

 

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