Stamping Out Stigma Against HIV Testing

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Stamping out Stigma against HIV Testing

Stigma and HIV Testing

Despite many positive changes surrounding public knowledge of HIV, some stigma still exists around testing in today’s society. Some factors that contribute to the stigmatization of HIV testing include:

-          Fear associated with the outcomes of testing

-          Fear of the possible prejudices an individual may experience as a result of getting tested

-          Fear of assumptions that may arise from health professionals administering treatment

Stigma: what’s the big deal?

Stigma around HIV testing is something many agencies are working feverishly to abolish. Why?

Stigma affects people in many different ways. Stigma around HIV testing can make it so that people don’t get tested and don’t access proper medical care—thus increasing their risk of both contracting and transmitting HIV. As well, stigma can leave people feeling isolated and alone.

Stigma: what can I do?

You’d be surprised what you can do to help reduce stigma around HIV testing. First, you can change your own attitude towards HIV testing, such as dealing with any internalized feelings of stigma. As well, you can educate yourself and help to educate others about HIV, testing, and current treatments that are available. If you know someone who is going through HIV screening, be as supportive as you can; oftentimes, people just need to know that someone is there for them in order to feel better about their situation. Furthermore, there are tons of great people working in this field that are available to support you through any HIV-related endeavor, including helping you or your loved ones access testing and/or proper medical care. For more information about how you can help reduce stigma, check out the resources listed on the back of this pamphlet.

It’s YOUR health, YOUR life!

We can all do our part to end stigmatization of HIV testing. By educating ourselves, we will help to change our own attitudes and, in turn, those of others.

Regular HIV testing/screening is just one other way of ensuring continued optimal health, just like getting regular blood work done! Not only is regular testing important for your own health and well-being, it’s also important for that of your partner(s).

Timing is everything. The optimal time to get tested is after the “window period,” which is three months from your last high-risk behavior or unsafe encounter. Three months may seem like a long wait but this is to ensure accuracy of the test results. Some examples of high-risk behavior and/or unsafe encounters are needle sharing and unprotected sex.

Getting tested for HIV isn’t a bad or negative thing; rather, it’s a matter of taking your health seriously. Care about your well-being and get tested!

HIV Test Sites in Saskatchewan

Saskatoon:

OUTSaskatoon

#201 – 320 21st Street West

306-665-1224 or toll-free at 1-800-358-1833

Testing is held every Thursday from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.  Drop in or call to book an appointment!

Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon – Drop-in Sexual Health Clinic

210 2nd Avenue North, Lower Level

306-244-7989

Visit website for most up-to-date schedule information: www.shcsaskatoon.ca

Saskatoon Tribal Council Health Centre

1514 20th Street West

306-956-0345

Westside Community Clinic (SWITCH)

1528 20th Street West

306-664-4310

Regina:

Sexual Health Clinic

2110 Hamilton Street

306-766-7779 or 1-800-268-9888

Planned Parenthood Regina

1431 Victoria Avenue

306-522-0902

Four Directions Health Centre

3510 5th Avenue

306-766-7540

Prince Albert:

Access Place/Prince Albert Sexual Health Clinic

101 15th Street East

306-765-6540

Call for hours and for additional outreach locations.

For more testing sites, visit the following page on the Government of Saskatchewan’s website: http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/hiv-testing-site-locations-by-hr

HIV Support and Services

AIDS Saskatoon

www.aidssakatoon.ca /web/

306-242-5005 or toll free at: 1-800-667-6876 

OUTSaskatoon

www.outsaskatoon.ca

306-665-1224 or toll free at 1-800-358-1833

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