After years of advocacy by gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit, and queer people (GBT2Q) for increased testing options, Canada's first HIV self-test was approved on November 2, 2020!
Approximately 14% of people in Canada living with HIV are unaware of their status and don’t have access to treatment. With the introduction of HIV self-testing, community members now have a new option to manage their sexual health on their terms. This new technology has the potential to reach those who experience barriers within a testing system not designed to work for them.
“Many people do not come forward because of stigma. Having more accessible tests and low barrier options is critical for people to get tested so they know their status,” says Dr. Sean Rourke, the principal investigator who led the work to study the performance, acceptance, and usability of the INSTI HIV self test that played a critical role in the license application.
Community-Based Research Centre, as part of the CIHR Centre for REACH 3.0, will be working alongside GBT2Q community members to explore the feasibility, acceptability and uptake of HIV self-testing. “The introduction of HIV self-testing is long overdue and the next challenge is facilitating access to those most marginalized within GBT2Q communities,” says Chris Draenos, RN, CBRC’s National HIV and STBBI Testing and Implementation Manager.