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Manitoba: HIV self-test kit project hopes to break down barriers to sexual health care

Variety of Manitoba community groups offering kits in Winnipeg, Brandon, The Pas

CBC NEWS

A new pilot project hopes to help end HIV in Canada long-term by removing barriers to getting tested that several at-risk communities face, and it all starts with a tiny take-home kit now being distributed by community groups.

The I’m Ready research program kicked off earlier this month. Community groups received some of the project’s 50,000 HIV self-test kits to distribute, with kits landing at seven Manitoba sites in The Pas, Brandon and Winnipeg. 

HIV self-test kits have been available to the public in the U.S. and U.K. for several years, but they were only legalized in Canada last fall thanks to research by Dr. Sean Rourke and others.

“There’s reasons why they’re not coming forward for care: obviously, stigma and all kinds of other barriers,” said Rourke, program director of REACH Nexus and a scientist at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“We’re now wanting to make sure that now that this test is approved, how do you get it to people in the most accessible, low-barrier ways?”

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