The past few years have been a rollercoaster for those of us most impacted by HIV. The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by people who are HIV-negative has gone from being discredited and shamed to become one of the keystones of a renewed and revitalized push to “end the HIV epidemic”. The other life-changing piece of research is the landmark PARTNER study that showed us, once and for all, that the sexual transmission of HIV does not occur in people whose viral loads are undetectable. The joyous global uptake of the U=U message has been nothing short of inspirational.
Je n’aime pas trop fréquenter les espaces médicaux. Pour moi, ce ne sont pas seulement des espaces essentiels à ma santé. Ce sont aussi des espaces d’exclusion et de traumatismes.
Combien de fois ai-je entendu parler de refus de soins chez des gens de mes communautés? Une migraine chronique est blâmée sur les hormones. Une plaie ouverte n’est pas pansée parce qu’on « n’a pas les connaissances pour traiter avec ce genre de personne. » Et que dire des questions déplacées, des mauvais noms sur les dossiers, ou encore de morinoms lus dans la salle d’attente, devant tout le monde?
A test is a test, right? I’ve struggled with the issues of why HIV testing matters over the last 25 years, and over that time I’ve seen the ebb and flow of debates and discussions on why testing is still an important issue for Canada. I’ve also seen the frustration among those who do not have access to testing and why that matters. Yes, knowing your HIV status is still an important health issue for Canadians. However, with the complex array of debates on the pros and cons of testing, including the very real concerns about confidentiality; the need for pre- and post-test counselling; limited access to testing innovations such as point-of-care testing (POCT); the gendered nature of testing along with some popular misconceptions about it, there is definitely room for improvement moving forward. Simply put: We can and must do better in our national leadership around HIV testing issues in this country.
The CATIE Blog hosts the views and opinions of people and organizations working and volunteering in Canada’s response to HIV and hepatitis C.