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
Hassle Free Clinic
HIV Test Conference
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
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
Voluntary, fully informed by a human rights perspective
Accompanied by quality pre and post test counselling and support (key)
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.
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
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
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
It’s easy and fun to do!
Hassle Free Clinic