HIV self-testing is based on the rapid point-of-care test that draws blood from a finger prick and provides results within minutes. Self-testing was devised to increase accessibility where travel and wait times, access to health care providers, and confidentiality concerns may pose barriers. A 16-week study across five Canadian cities involving over 1000 participants including gay, bi, queer guys was conducted, the results of which were key to the approval of HIV self-testing in Canada. As of November 2020, HIV self-testing kits were officially approved in Canada.
GetaKit is an HIV self-test delivery program which aims to increase HIV testing, the frequency of testing, the number of people who know their status, and the number of people linked to treatment and care — all of which contribute to decreasing HIV transmission. Having these accessible and lower barrier HIV tests are particularly important to reduce infection rates in key population groups such as: Gay, bisexual, transmasc+ identified individuals and men who have sex with men; People of African, Caribbean and other Black descent; and People who use substances and/or inject drugs.
We would like to acknowledge Dr. Patrick O’Byrne RN-EC PhD (Principal Investigator), University of Ottawa, and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network as our partners for GetaKit. GetaKit is a University of Ottawa, REB approved project.
If you have questions about this service, please contact the ACT GetaKit Team (Roberto and Safiya) at [email protected]
I’m Ready is a research program that is sharing HIV self-testing kits and asking questions to connect people to care and prevention, and to learn how to improve HIV testing and care in Canada. Participants have access to a secure telehealth service staffed by peer navigators before during or after they test.
I’m Ready is from REACH Nexus at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, part of St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto.
ACT is one of over 75 HIV self-test kit distribution sites nationally for the I’m Ready program.
To learn more about the research program and what’s involved with becoming a participant, please visit www.readytoknow.ca.