Monday, February 22, 2016
Online STD Testing a First in Canada
Testing service expands in BC
Centre for Disease Control
living in Duncan, Kamloops, Langford, Nelson, and Victoria, will now be
able to access sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV testing
without having to visit a doctor or nurse in person.
“A person can have an STI without knowing because often there are no
signs or symptoms,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “So if you are
sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is
one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.
GetCheckedOnline is a free and private way for British Columbians to
get tested, and now more communities will be reached by this service.”
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), in collaboration with Island
Health, Interior Health and LifeLabs, will be expanding the pilot
program GetCheckedOnline, the first online service in Canada offering
easy, confidential testing for STIs, HIV and hepatitis C. It’s a
confidential, convenient alternative for people who would like to test
more often or who find it difficult to visit a clinic for testing.
“The Provincial Health Services Authority is committed to innovative,
province-wide solutions to achieving better health. This collaborative
expansion of GetCheckedOnline is helping to improve access to important
STI testing and provides an alternative method to deliver quality health
services to more British Columbians,” said Carl Roy, President & Chief
Executive Officer, Provincial Health Services Authority in a release
The five communities were chosen to include both rural and urban pilot
sites for the expansion. Clients can visit the website (GetCheckedOnline.com),
create an account, answer a sexual history questionnaire and print a
laboratory requisition for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and (if
needed) hepatitis C testing. Users then go to a participating LifeLabs
location in their community to give specimens, and are notified by email
when their results are ready. If all results are negative, they can be
viewed online. Clients with positive or inconclusive results will be
contacted by a BCCDC nurse to arrange follow-up and appropriate
treatment. Users need a code to access testing through GetCheckedOnline;
codes will be available through program promotion materials in Island
Health and Interior Health.
“We’re pleased to be bringing this service to the Island in partnership
with BCCDC and LifeLabs. The only way to know if you have an STI is to
get tested. Going online will make STI testing more accessible and help
people get linked to treatment and support. It’s also a good way to know
more about your health status and take care of your partners,” said Dr.
Dee Hoyano, Medical Health Officer, Island Health.
“We know there are people who are reluctant or unable to visit a clinic
or physician’s office to get tested. This program removes barriers and
make it easier and more convenient. We hope that this new service will
encourage more people to get tested and get tested more often. Finding
out if you have an STI is a critical step in getting medical care and
prevent passing it on to others,” said Maja Karlsson, HIV and Health
Outreach Manager, Interior Health.
The service was developed based on feedback from potential users and
health-care professionals, and has undergone privacy and security
reviews to safeguard a patient’s right to confidentiality. It is an
extension of BCCDC STI clinical services, which ensures that appropriate
tests are done and that patients receive local treatment and follow-up.
GetCheckedOnline users will also be directed to BCCDC’s provincial
sexual health website
SmartSexResource.com, which offers comprehensive sexual health
GetCheckedOnline has been available in Vancouver for the past 16 months,
with over 400 clients accessing the service. If the pilot in these five
additional communities shows similar success, the service may be
expanded to other communities in BC in the future.
“LifeLabs is honoured to support the work of the BC Centre for Disease
Control and participating health authorities in bringing
GetCheckedOnline to more British Columbians. GetCheckedOnline allows
those who want and need STI testing to get tested when and how it works
for them. This highly personal access is key to increasing the chance
that people will get tested: a critical step in managing and improving
their health,” said Sue Paish, President & Chief Executive Officer,
About the BCCDC
The BC Centre for Disease Control, an
agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides provincial
and national leadership in public health through surveillance,
detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services. The Centre
provides both direct diagnostic and treatment services for people with
diseases of public health importance and analytical and policy support
to all levels of government and health authorities.
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