Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey raised a flag at Province House today, Nov. 29, to mark HIV/AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day.
This year’s theme, Know Your Status, highlights the importance of prevention, early diagnosis, and ongoing care and treatment.
World AIDS day is Dec. 1 and also marks the beginning of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week in Canada.
“To build on the important work that has been done to fight HIV/AIDS, we need to continue to reduce stigma and encourage people to know their status,” said Mr. Delorey. “Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment are key, and we are working hard to increase access to services to remove barriers for high-risk Nova Scotians.”
In July, government increased access to HIV prevention medication by adding it to provincial Pharmacare programs.
“The importance of early diagnosis and access to ongoing care and treatment to eliminate HIV cannot be overstated,” said Michelle Proctor-Simms, director of the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS. “This speaks to the need for more options to reach the undiagnosed and to get them to the appropriate services and supports.”
Twenty-five Nova Scotians have already tested positive for HIV this year. That’s an increase over the average annual number of 16 new HIV cases. There has been a national increase in rates of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections over the last decade.
To find out how to get an HIV test, talk to your primary care provider or visit the Nova Scotia Health Authority sexually transmitted infection and sexually transmitted disease clinic website at http://www.nshealth.ca/service-details/STI%20and%20STD%20Clinic.
Information on anonymous HIV testing offered at the Halifax Sexual Health Clinic or the Ally Centre of Cape Breton can be found at http://hshc.ca/anonymous-hiv-testing/.