Calgary hosts free clinics as part of inaugural HIV testing day

Calgarians have five options for anonymous HIV testing Wednesday, as part of the first National HIV Testing Day.

People can get tested at 5 clinics in Calgary on Wednesday

Wednesday marks the inaugural National HIV Testing Day. (Getty Images)

Calgarians have five options for anonymous HIV testing on Wednesday, as part of the first National HIV Testing Day.

"This is an opportunity for us to have a conversation about HIV, to break down some of the stigma, and to help people to know that HIV isn't the crisis it once was. That medications are readily available and you can have a long and happy and full life," said Leslie Hill, executive director of HIV Community Link. 

Two rapid point-of-care tests are available for those who want to receive results within just minutes at HIV Community Link and the Centre for Sexuality. Three other locations will offer the traditional blood tests — participants will be contacted with results within a few days. 

Hill says there are about 75,000 people living with HIV in Canada, and approximately 20 per cent of them don't know they have it. 

"We know that it's important to have access to treatment quickly — and that knowing your status helps to improve your health outcomes," she said. 

Testing is anonymous, and counselling services and follow-up care will be provided to participants. 

Here are the five Calgary testing locations:

  • HIV Community Link, 110-1603 10th Ave. S.W., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Centre for Sexuality, 700-1509 Centre St. S.W., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Alberta Health Services' Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic, Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, Main Floor, Room 1039, 1213 4th St. S.W., 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection Clinic, Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, 5th Floor, 1213 4th St. S.W., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The Alex Youth Health Centre, 104-2840 2nd Ave. S.E., noon to 6 p.m.

A full list of the 43 testing locations across Canada is available on the Canadian AIDS Society website

With files from Brooks DeCillia