Final exams aren’t the only tests being taken this month. Residents In Recovery and the Saskatchewan Health Authority will be partnering to offer HIV/STI testing out of the Residents In Recovery office downtown.
The testing date coincides with National HIV Testing Day. Every year on June 27, people are encouraged to get tested for HIV and learn their HIV status. Three nurses will be present to draw blood samples to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted infections. Tyler Lorenz is the program director for Residents In Recovery and says it’s a common need for the demographic they serve.
“It tends to be an issue for the population that we serve; those struggling with active addictions, especially those who use injection drugs as their drug of choice. It seems to be the most common method of transmission for HIV and HepC. It’s really important that we can screen individuals and identify those who are afflicted with the diseases because both HIV and HepC are treatable,” says Lorenz.
According to the most recent surveillance report, 2017 saw injection drug users accounted for 16.3 per cent of adult HIV cases. The majority of those cases came from Indigenous demographics with 68.1 per cent. Saskatchewan also reported the highest provincial diagnosis rate at 15.5 per cent per 100,000 population size.
Lloydminster does not have an STI or sexual health clinic for residents to get tested. People looking to learn their HIV status or get tested for other sexually transmitted blood-borne infections have to book a laboratory appointment through their physician. Lorenz says that sometimes this isn’t an easy process for everyone.
“So this eliminates a lot of the red tape that would prevent many individuals with active addictions from going and getting the testing done.”
The testing is free and open to anyone who wants to know their HIV/STI status. People may get tested any time after 10 a.m. on a first come, first serve basis. Nursing staff will take down contact information for patients to be notified.