Free HIV tests at Vancouver pharmacies part of pilot project to reduce stigma around screening

VANCOUVER—Two Vancouver pharmacies will soon offer customers free HIV tests that will provide results on the spot in less than five minutes.

Pharmacists at the Medicine Shoppe drugstores have been trained by HIV nurses from Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health to provide testing as part of a year-long pilot project.

Medical health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson says offering HIV testing at locations such as a pharmacy helps reduce stigma around testing and makes it more acceptable to people.

The pilot project will determine whether HIV testing in pharmacies can complement existing programs at community testing sites, hospitals, walk-in clinics and through family physicians.

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