Continuing to get people tested for AIDS


When AIDS Yorkton began, the disease was a mystery. Not much was known about HIV / AIDS, or how it could be treated. People were dying of the disease, as it spread rapidly around the world.

Today, it's a different story, people can live a long time, even after a diagnosis of AIDS, thanks to the new treatment options available.

One thing remains the same, people still need tests to find out if they have it or not.

AIDS Yorkton has closed and is passing the torch to the new extension program operated by SIGN. This came with a $ 740 donation to the new program, as Yorkids Aids closed its accounts and wanted to support ongoing programs now.

Vivianne Lincoln, of Yorkids Aids, said the decision to support SIGN's new program was a natural fit because the program continues the work they did years ago.

The problem at that time was partly that people did not want to admit that they could have contracted AIDS, and Lincoln admitted that they had to fight to make people believe that it was something that could affect them.

"At that time, they just said it was the gay community that was spreading it. Of course, the gay community got very involved, and people living with AIDS (PLWA) became very involved and went out and were educated, and I think that really helped to get rid of this stigma. "

As much work has been done, there is still an associated stigma, and the disease is now associated with intravenous drug users. Candace Nelson, SIGN's social advocacy advisor, said that although it is a high-risk group, it is still a disease that can affect people who are not necessarily at risk, so it's important that everyone get tested. Although it is no longer a death sentence, the only way the treatment works is if people really know they have the disease.

This region needs AIDS awareness because there was an outbreak in the former Sunrise Health Region, Nelson admits, with an 800% increase in the number of new HIV patients by 2016 – about 16 new cases compared to one year in which there were two. Part of the reason for this increase in patients was a more comprehensive test, she said, but this is also a clear example of why this test is needed.

"One in five people does not realize they have them, they are passing unnoticed. Once we identify these people, they are being treated, or at least participating in care."

For Nelson, her job is to get people tested, and she does not understand why someone did not take a test to stay safe.

"If you knew you had cancer, you would want to get an early cancer test. You would like to take an early test for diabetes. You want to be tested early for hypertension. But for HIV, people prefer to assume that they do not. Why do not you want to get tested and apply antiretroviral treatment? "

Getting Yorkton AIDS money means the program can do more extension work, Nelson said.

© Copyright 2018 Flin Flon Reminder

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