Vancouver pharmacies first in Canada to provide free HIV testing

Vancouver is the first city in Canada where you can take a free HIV test at a pharmacy.

Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced Tuesday that they’re piloting the feasibility of local pharmacies offering HIV tests to customers by introducing the test at two Vancouver Medicine Shoppe locations.

“A few years ago, evidence became really compelling that diagnosis at the earlier possible moment is beneficial to patients and their partner,” said VCH medical health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson. “We began to greatly expand the availability of HIV testing in health care settings and also outreach settings. It’s had a tremendous impact.”

But the health care system continued to see the infection spreading among young people – who rarely see a doctor or visit hospitals—at concerning rates.

So in an effort to make the test as accessible and easy as possible, the health providers decided to launch the pilot project.

Matt Kieltyka reports

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