HIV testing promoted

The First Nations Health Authority is partnering with the Interior Health Authority on a campaign that aims to destigmatize HIV and AIDS

Knowing your HIV status is an important part of a healthy sex life and a good relationship.

The First Nations Health Authority is partnering with the Interior Health Authority on a campaign that aims to destigmatize HIV and AIDS and encourage all First Nations and aboriginal peoples, along with all sexually active adults in the region, to get an HIV test.

The partnership between the two health authorities is part of the My Health Is Sexy campaign, a public awareness campaign launched by Interior Health on World AIDS Day last year to promote HIV testing. It is estimated that 3,500 people in B.C. are living with HIV but are unaware of their status.

The FNHA supports frequent HIV testing for all First Nations and aboriginal people in B.C. to determine their status, and to ensure those living with HIV are engaged with care providers who will help them access and benefit from treatment.

“We are very pleased to partner with FNHA on this phase of the My Health is Sexy campaign.  Aboriginal people are disproportionally affected by HIV in many of our communities,” said Dr. Trevor Corneil, chief medical health officer for IHA and physician lead for the My Health is Sexy campaign.

“By working together with FNHA and our Aboriginal partners we hope to inspire aboriginal people to be proactive by requesting an HIV test and for those who are living with HIV to achieve wellness through treatment.”

A positive HIV result is not what it used to be. Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV can improve overall health, prevent the transmission of HIV to another person, and is available for all at no cost. Although there is no cure for HIV, there are medications that when taken as prescribed will help people live longer, healthier lives.

“Even if you’re in an established relationship, an HIV test is a good chance to check in with your mate, your doctor and yourself. It should be a routine part of your health care,” said Dr. Evan Adams, chief medical officer with the First Nations Health Authority. “It is important that we start the conversation about HIV. First Nations peoples need to know it is preventable and treatable — it starts with talking about it, getting a test and if necessary accessing treatment.”

Information about HIV, testing, and the My Health Is Sexy campaign is available at www.myhealthissexy.com.