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
#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
Visit website for most up-to-date schedule information: www.shcsaskatoon.ca
Saskatoon Tribal Council Health Centre
1514 20th Street West
Westside Community Clinic (SWITCH)
1528 20th Street West
Sexual Health Clinic
2110 Hamilton Street
306-766-7779 or 1-800-268-9888
Planned Parenthood Regina
1431 Victoria Avenue
Four Directions Health Centre
3510 5th Avenue
Access Place/Prince Albert Sexual Health Clinic
101 15th Street East
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
306-242-5005 or toll free at: 1-800-667-6876
306-665-1224 or toll free at 1-800-358-1833