The truth about anonymous hiv testing
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The Truth About Anonymous HIV Testing. Jane Greer Hassle Free Clinic HIV Test Conference June, 2013. History. HIV Test made available through Public Health Lab in November, 1985 Hassle Free Clinic, BC & VD and some community physicians start offering Anonymous Testing

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The truth about anonymous hiv testing

The Truth About Anonymous HIV Testing

Jane Greer

Hassle Free Clinic

HIV Test Conference

June, 2013


History

History

HIV Test made available through Public Health Lab in November, 1985

Hassle Free Clinic, BC & VD and some community physicians start offering Anonymous Testing

1988- Toronto Public Health tells HFC to stop Anonymous Testing; Clinic refuses


History1

History

Strong lobbying for AT from many activist and community groups, especially AIDS Action Now!

1991 – NDP Health Minister announces AT will be allowed at 8 designated sites

1992 – Provincial Program rolls out in January


What anonymous testing is

What Anonymous Testing Is

Voluntary, fully informed by a human rights perspective

Accompanied by quality pre and post test counselling and support (key)


Myths about anonymous testing

Myths About Anonymous Testing

  • Myth #1

  • Clients don’t return for their results.

    • With POC testing, virtually 100% of people receive their results

    • Even before Point of Care testing, Hassle Free consistently had return rates of over 95%

    • This rate has remained consistent with people returning to pick up confirmatory results under POC Testing


Myths about anonymous testing1

Myths About Anonymous Testing

Myth #2

Anonymous testers don’t engage in partner notification

Our experience is that when people test positive, they are very concerned about telling people who may be at risk; even if it may have devastating consequences to them or their families

We also know this based on the fact that many people come for testing because they have been informed by partners who have recently tested HIV positive.


Myths about anonymous testing2

Myths About Anonymous Testing

Myth # 2 (continued)

Issues for clients are complex in any test system; withdrawal of sex, emotional and/or financial support from current partners, threat of emotional or physical abuse

These are not specific to AT, but AT may help people feel safe enough to navigate through these issues

Loss of privacy (past partners are often “past” for a reason)

Feel threatened about family issues, i.e. MSM, daycares, custody issues, etc.

Support is what is needed


Myths about anonymous testing3

Myths About Anonymous Testing

Myth #3

Anonymous Testers are often lost to follow up and don’t seek treatment, care and support.

Experience tells us almost all newly diagnosed people do seek primary care; they want to see a doctor ASAP.

Again, good post test counselling can help people transition to care; we can tell them what to expect, what the tests mean, etc.

Two post test counselling sessions helps with that transition


Why it is still important

Why It is Still Important

HIV is still surrounded by stigma, discrimination and increasingly, criminalization

Essential for us to do everything possible to mitigate those fears to help people at risk come forward for testing

We need to use every tool at our disposal to give strong prevention messages and encourage people to test

AT is one very powerful tool


Anonymous testing

Anonymous Testing

It’s easy and fun to do!

Thank you

Jane Greer

Hassle Free Clinic


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