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National HIV Testing Day 2019

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Testing sites in 70 communities across Canada announce the second annual National HIV Testing Day.

“The goal of the day is to effectively target groups disproportionately affected by the virus,”
said Gerard Yetman, Executive Director of the AIDS Committee Newfoundland & Labrador (ACNL).

National HIV Testing Day aims to reduce the stigma often associated with testing.
This year, in addition to receiving a rapid HIV test, clients can access testing for all
sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections (STBBIs), including hepatitis C, by visiting one of the testing sites.

One in five Canadians living with HIV unaware that they are affected

About 65,000 people in Canada have HIV, and one in five HIV-positive Canadians are not aware of their
status, which makes the possibility of transmitting the virus to others much more likely. HIV Testing Day
was created in response to the rising rates being seen in Canada.

Public Health Agency of Canada’s 2017 HIV Surveillance Report showed a 17.1% increase in the number
of new HIV infections in Canada between 2014 and 2017.

“The only way to know for certain if you’re HIV-positive is to get tested,” said Mr. Yetman. “The sooner
you know your status the sooner you can be linked to care. HIV medications are very effective and
when the virus is suppressed, there is no risk of passing the infection on to sex partners.”

Free testing, immediate results, more testing sites

HIV tests will be administered using finger stick blood samples for point-of-care testing (POCT),
which give results in under a minute. If a positive result is detected, clients will receive a lab requisition to
get their confirmatory test right away. Testing for other STBBIs will also be offered through provision of
lab requisitions with follow up to clients to provide their results, and treatment if needed.

Provincially, sites are throughout the Eastern region and in Corner Brook. Clients can access testing
through two pharmacies (Shoppers Drug Mart on LeMarchant Road in St. John’s and Millbrook Mall in
Corner Brook), as well as through the School of Pharmacy’s Medication Therapy Services (MTS) Clinic
at 75 Tiffany Court in St. John’s, during advertised testing hours. A variety of Eastern Health-operated clinics
will also be offering testing.

More pharmacy-based testing to come

The School of Pharmacy and the ACNL are partnering on a CIHR-funded research initiative which will see
the return of HIV testing through more pharmacies, along with testing for other STBBIs.

Dr. Debbie Kelly, principal investigator of the APPROACH 2.0 study, stated that stigma and access to
testing are important barriers to testing that can be overcome for many people when testing is available through

“In the APPROACH study we learned that the pharmacy is a convenient and preferred place for people to
receive HIV testing. Building on this success, we will determine how we can make the pharmacy a destination
where people can get tested for all STBBIs at one visit. Pharmacists are well-positioned to play this key role in
public health by providing STBBI testing and linkage to care and treatment.”

APPROACH 2.0 will be conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Alberta, and is expected to begin in late 2019.

For information on testing sites, visit: https://hivtestingday.ca/find-a-site/

Testing sites:

- Walter Templeman Health Centre Main Registration Desk, 8 #2 Road, Wabana, Bell
Island A0A 4H0 10:00AM-2:00PM Appointment – Walk In’s Welcome

- Buckmaster’s Community Centre 129 Brigade St St. John’s 9:00AM-1:00PM Walk-In

- Choices for Youth 12-16 Carter’s Hill 8:30AM-4:30PM Walk-In

- Gathering Place 172 Military Road 9:30AM – 12:00 1:00PM – 3:30PM Walk-In

- Taylor Bldg. 33 Cathedral St. Harbor Grace 9:30AM-12:00 2:00PM-4:00PM Appointment- 945-6579 945-6512 Walk-In’s Welcome

- Shoppers Drug Mart 250 LeMarchant Rd St. John’s, NL 10:00AM – 5:00PM Walk-In

- Shamrock Clinic Ferryland 10:00AM – 4:00PM Appointment required 432-2340

- St. Clare’s Hospital 8:00AM-12:00 777-5556 Appointment Only

- Mount Pearl Square 9:00AM – 12:00 1:00PM – 4:00PM Walk – In (No appointment required)

- Medication Therapy Services Clinic 75 Tiffany Court 9:00AM – 4:00PM 864-2274 864-7805 Walk In

- Shoppers Drug Mart Mill Brook Mall Corner Brook 1:00PM-4:00PM 634-8875 Appointment – Walk-In’s Welcome

- Taylor Bldg. 33 Cathedral St. Harbor Grace 9:30AM-12:00 2:00PM-4:00PM Appointment- 945-6579 945-6512 Walk-In’s Welcome

- New Hope Community Clinic 20 Cordage Place, St. John’s Appointments only:
752-6856 Shamrock Clinic Ferryland 10:00AM – 4:00PM Appointment required

For media inquiries:

Heidi Wicks
Communications Advisor, School of Pharmacy
(709) 864-8732/749-7462 (cell)

Gerard Yetman
Executive Director, ACNL
(709) 579-8656


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