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Canada: Director of HIV/AIDS Center in Prince Edward Island Calls for Anonymous Testing System

April 1, 2009

Prince Edward Island needs to accommodate people who want to test for HIV anonymously, says Mark Hanlon, executive director of AIDS PEI. The province is the only one in Canada that does not have anonymous screening, said Hanlon, who plans to lobby provincial authorities to fund such testing. Under an anonymous system, patients would not provide their names or other personal information.

"Patients could go in on a Monday, get tested, and on Friday they just come in, give a number," Hanlon explained. AIDS PEI could host an anonymous HIV screening program, but it would need the government's support, he said. "We have the numbers for the tests and they get the test results back. If they want to come back and talk to us about a positive result or they want to talk about a negative result and how they can avoid problems, then we can do that."

However, AIDS PEI would "need somebody on site," Hanlon said. "It doesn't mean [provincial officials] have to give us any money. They could provide a nurse," he said "One-day-a-week testing and having the nurse come back later in the week to distribute the results would be great. That way there's no face-to-face contact with other health professionals besides that nurse."

The provincial has not received a proposal for anonymous HIV screening, but "we would take it on and look at it if a request came," said Dr. Lamont Sweet, deputy chief health officer. "It does require that a physician be responsible for requesting the test. So, if a physician wanted to apply to do that anywhere, then we would have to look at that."

Back to other news for April 2009

Adapted from:
Canadian Press
03.29.2009; Summerside Journal-Pioneer

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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