Test Now: Innovations in Testing and Linkage to Care Projects
CBRC believes the best way to improve sexual health is to provide people with the tools they need to make informed decisions. By increasing testing options, we hope to enable more people to be aware of their sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection (STBBI) status. As part of the REACH Nexus, we will implement and evaluate testing options that will help reach the undiagnosed, and reduce new HIV and STBBI infections in our community.
For this to happen, we are looking for new, better and easier ways to reach gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit and queer (GBT2Q) men and non-binary people who want to test for HIV and other STBBIs, such as hepatitis C and syphilis. We also want to connect GBT2Q men and non-binary people to the support, care, and prevention resources they want. Click here for more information on new ways to get tested for HIV, hepatitis C and Syphilis.
We have four national projects to support GBT2Q men and non-binary people with accessing new testing options and will provide support, prevention and care resources and referrals. At the provincial level, we also have dedicated funding to work alongside with Indigenous and Two-Spirit communities throughout BC to address the unique and specific needs for HIV and STBBI testing in those communities.
Test@Home Program: At-Home HIV Self-Testing
GBT2Q men and non-binary people across Canada can Test@Home with the new HIV self-test (HIVST) that was approved in Canada in November of 2020. For this program, we want to understand real-world use of the HIVST with a focus on GBT2Q men and non-binary people who experience barriers with traditional testing options. This project is supported by the Test Now Buddy Program.
Sex Now 2021 participants who are 18 years and older will be able to opt in to receive free HIV self-test kits by mail while completing the survey. Everyone who is eligible can ask for up to three HIV self-test kits to use themselves or to share with friends or people in their sexual or social networks. This project will also be supported by our new Test Now Buddy program.
This project builds on our at-home Dried Blood Spot (DBS) pilot in BC, held during Sex Now 2019.
Test Now Buddy Program: HIV Self-Test Support, Prevention Support and Confirmatory Testing Referrals
As new testing options become available, GBT2Q men and non-binary people may have questions or need additional support to access existing community resources. The Test Now Buddy Program will help connect GBT2Q men and non-binary people to HIV care/prevention resources, as well as other important services, such as STBBI testing or mental health services. Participants can email [email protected] or text/call 1-844-900-2272 to connect with a Test Now Buddy in English or French.
Get it Wet Program: Oral HIV Self-Testing
There is a new rapid HIV test coming to Canada where you swab your gums. This oral HIV test is not available in Canada, except as part of research studies like this one. We want to know what GBT2Q men and non-binary people think about this test. The Get it Wet study will be done in combination with the upcoming Sex Now 2022 study.
HIV and STBBI Testing in Indigenous and Two-Spirit Communities in BC
This is one of several CBRC projects focused on the health of Indigenous people. We will continue our work with Indigenous and Two-Spirit community members in BC to co-create culturally appropriate STBBI testing options. We will engage directly with community members and local healthcare providers to integrate a person’s preferred testing options and linkage to care into existing services. We will work alongside Indigenous and Two-Spirit artists to develop promotional materials for a pilot testing project.
For more information on any of these projects, please contact Chris Draenos, RN ([email protected]), CBRC’s HIV and STBBI Testing and Linkage Implementation Manager.