Tag: Testing

What I learned from teaching an HIV and hepatitis C testing course

HIV treatments are a literal lifesaver and help people to live long and healthy lives, while also preventing transmission. There are also highly effective hepatitis C treatments that cure more than 95% of those living with the infection. But none of the advancements in hepatitis C and HIV treatment are being realized for the 13% of HIV-positive Canadians and 44% of Canadians with hepatitis C who don’t know their status. Testing is the first step towards connecting people to treatment, care and support, and no matter the result, it can also be the gateway to prevention services like harm reduction...

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Hepatitis C reflex testing in Canada: from theory to practice

Hepatitis C testing in Canada can be complicated. Until recently, hepatitis C testing through provincial labs across the country was standard two-step testing. This approach uses two separate blood samples collected at two separate times. The first blood sample is for the screening test that looks for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. This screening test determines if a person has ever been exposed to the virus. If this test result is positive, a second blood sample is taken to conduct the confirmatory test that looks for the presence of the hepatitis C virus in the blood. This test confirms...

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Making OraQuick quicker: The VIRCAN 5-Minute Rule

Point-of-care (POC) tests for hepatitis C expand testing beyond clinical settings where a blood draw is not readily available. They are an important tool in the effort to eliminate hepatitis C as an endemic disease by 2030. The only Health Canada-approved POC test is the OraQuick hepatitis C antibody test, which requires a 20-minute wait before the results can be read.

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New lab process in B.C. simplifying the hepatitis C care cascade

British Columbians can now be diagnosed with hepatitis C from a single blood test, saving time and money for both patients and the health care system. This is thanks to a new testing process introduced by the Public Health Laboratory at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), known as hepatitis C (HCV) RNA reflex testing.

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The challenges of STI testing during COVID-19

Nova Scotia is no stranger to syphilis. Back in 2012, the province saw a spike in cases – almost double compared to the year before. In early 2020, another outbreak was identified with a 60% increase between 2018 and 2019. This latest outbreak was different in two key ways: it was predominantly among women, and not focused solely in Halifax.

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Bring testing to the people

Editor’s note, January 2022: Some of the approaches and technologies highlighted here are still only available in some regions of Canada. Additionally, HIV self-testing/home-based testing has now been approved for use in Canada. Canada has signed on to global targets to eliminate HIV and hepatitis C as public health threats by 2030. While ambitious, these targets are now a realistic possibility thanks to the effectiveness of modern medications. HIV treatment can suppress the virus so successfully that HIV-positive Canadians who start treatment early can have life expectancies similar to their HIV-negative peers. This also prevents the transmission of HIV to...

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