HIV testing coming to Nanaimo hospital

Island Health plans to offer patients HIV tests among other blood tests when they check in to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

HIV tests will soon be part of the check-in routine at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Island Health plans to offer HIV tests amongst the blood work patients can get during hospital admission.

The move is all about making HIV tests part of routine medical care for patients and will follow similar hospital based-tests rolled out in Port Alberni and Campbell River.

It’s not the first time the health authority has offered patients a new access-point for HIV tests.

The Nanaimo Medicine Shoppe at Terminal Park mall offered free, instant tests to customers in a year-long pilot that began August last year and the results – a total 78 tests up until June 2015 – are currently being evaluated.

HIV testing overall is on the rise here in central Vancouver Island increasing from 3,600 tests per 100,000 population in 2011 to 4,648 last year, according to Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health medical health officer for central Vancouver Island, who says the authority plans to make HIV admission tests a permanent hospital offering.

No date has been set for when Nanaimo will begin offering HIV tests, but it is set to coincide with the hospital’s rollout of an electronic health record system, anticipated in the new year.

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