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HIV Testing Encouraged

Interior Health has launched a new campaign encouraging all adults across the province, including the Cariboo, to get tested for HIV.

Dr. Trevor Corneil, Interior Health Medical Officer, shares how the “My Health is Sexy” campaign conveys the importance of knowing your HIV status.

“It is difficult to talk about sexual health if you don’t talk about it in a positive way and positive discussion about sexual health involves sexuality.”

“So we do talk about sex and about how imagery and the topic can be sexy. It’s also for us as a way to draw people in to learn about their sexual health.”

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According to Corneil, there are upwards of 200 cases of HIV in the Cariboo-Thompson region.

“Only about a 1/3 of those have suppressed viral load, which means only a 1/3 are on the right treatment.”

“Our goal is to engage all other people getting better treatment, Number 1 and Number 2 knowing that those people can potentially be actively infecting others or who have already infected others who don’t know it.”

It is estimated that approximately 3,500 British Columbians are living with HIV and are unaware of their status.

Corneil says expanding HIV testing and treatment has been proven to the best way to fight HIV.

“Where HIV was once a death diagnosis, it is now actually a life-saving diagnosis.”

“The medications that we have and the approach to treatment is such that people live a normal healthy life.”

“It is much better to know you have HIV, than not know.”

HIV testing can be performed through a simple blood test that can be requested through the privacy of your health care provider.

More information on the campaign launched by Interior Health can be found online.

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