Nearly-instant HIV test to be available at two Vancouver pharmacies

Two Vancouver pharmacies have launched a pilot project offering free rapid HIV tests that tell people within five minutes if they have the virus.

Reka Gustafson, medical director of communicable disease control at Vancouver Coastal Health, said Vancouver has made some progress in recent years when it comes to expanding HIV testing, but there is room for improvement.

“It’s still not where we’d like it to be. We still diagnose people relatively late in their infection – we still know that people have many missed opportunities for diagnosis,” Dr. Gustafson said in an interview on Tuesday.

The year-long pilot project is a joint venture between Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health, the two agencies that operate health-care facilities in the city. The tests are available at Medicine Shoppe pharmacies at 2030 Kingsway Avenue and 6180 Fraser Street Both pharmacies are next to walk-in clinics, making it easier to get treatment for people who test positive.

Sunny Dhillon reports

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