Rapid HIV Tests Offered to UBC Students for World AIDS Day

Vancouver, BC — As part of the recently launched “It’s Different Now” HIV/AIDS social marketing campaign, Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health are joining with the University of British Columbia (UBC) to offer students HIV tests to mark World AIDS Day.

UBC students will be able to find out their HIV status in just 60 seconds, dramatically quicker than the one- to two-day wait usually required for HIV test results. All students tested will receive pre and post test counselling which includes an explanation of the possible test outcomes, information about how HIV is spread and resources available.

Early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available life-saving treatments. Currently, an estimated 3,500 people living in BC are not aware they are HIV positive. Earlier diagnosis can lead to earlier treatment, resulting in good health and long, productive lives for patients. Treatment also significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

According to UBC Student Health Services, 55–60 per cent of undergraduate students have been sexually active, and of those, most have had 1–2 partners. Yet only an estimated one-third of students have ever had an HIV test. UBC is one of a number of partners participating in the “It’s Different Now” campaign, providing students with a convenient opportunity to get tested and raising awareness about the importance getting tested early and regularly.

Event: HIV Testing photo opportunity
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2011 (World AIDS Day)
Place: Abdul Ladha Science Students Centre (2055 East Mall, south doors)

*For attending media - please check in with VCH Communications on the main floor near the stage. Students, nurses and VCH’s Medical Health Officer are available for interviews.

For more information on the “It’s Different Now” campaign, please visit http://itsdifferentnow.org.

Contact:

Tiffany Akins
Communications Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health
Cell: 604-319-7530
Tiffany.Akins@vch.ca