On Thursday, June 27, the Turning Point Program based in Yorkton recognized national HIV Testing Day, and enhancements to testing services offered.
HIV Testing Day was created to support HIV prevention, education, and treatment; this year’s theme is “Know Your Status”. One in five Canadians living with HIV are unaware that they have HIV. The only way to know if you are HIV-positive is to get tested – the sooner you know your status, the sooner you can be linked to care services.
While specific locations were set-up to encourage testing on HIV Testing Day, point-of-care testing is available at any time throughout the year. Testing can be requested as part of routine blood work during regular medical clinic visits or visits to the Emergency Room. Confidential counseling and case management are made available to assist clients in navigating the health-care system.
The program is now also offering enhanced comprehensive testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne infections (BBIs).
“We recognized a need in our area to offer enhanced testing services,” said Jodie Yathon, Director of Primary Health Care (Yorkton) with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “Our team of Primary Health Nurse Practitioners and the Turning Point staff truly collaborated together to implement the program enhancements and meet the needs of our clients and community.”
The Turning Point Program, located in the SIGN building at 109-345 Broadway Street West, assists individuals and families living with HIV, Hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections and other blood-borne infections to achieve positive health and social outcomes by improving access to health care and social services.
Clients also have access to risk reduction services including safe injection, safe inhalation kits, safer sex supplies and assistance with social supports as needed. Testing and treatment are offered on a drop-in basis on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; the Turning Point Program can be contacted at 306-786-0851.
“We are very pleased that we are able to offer these enhanced testing services at the Turning Point Program,” said Dr. Ashok Chhetri, Medical Health Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “Our team has focused on meeting the needs of our clients in Yorkton and area by working together to deliver enhanced point of care testing and treatment options, to help clients receive earlier access to care and treatment, and to assist in reducing the incidence of sexually-transmitted infections.”