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Community partnership

World AIDS Day poster campaign to promote accessible HIV testing

By Heidi Wicks

Researchers in the School of Pharmacy are continuing a well-established and longstanding partnership with the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador (ACNL).

Dr. Debbie Kelly, associate professor, and Dr. Jason Kielly, assistant professor, are leading the APPROACH study, which aims to develop and implement an effective, community-pharmacy based, HIV point-of-care testing program.

Dr. Debbie Kelly (left) and Dr. Jason Kielly.
From left are Dr. Debbie Kelly and Dr. Jason Kielly.
Photo: Chris Hammond

“The testing program aims to reach those at high risk of HIV infection and those who have never been tested,” said Dr. Kelly. “Point-of-care testing breaks down many of the barriers that prevent people from learning their HIV status, including limited access to health-care resources.”

Those with no permanent address or telephone number may have difficulty obtaining test results, says Dr. Kielly.

“Through the APPROACH program, individuals will receive fast, reliable test results and have access to followup care as well as counselling through community supports and organizations,” he said.

Increase in infections

Gerard Yetman, executive director, ACNL, says he is concerned about the increase in HIV infections and the low testing rates in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“In the spirit of the World AIDS Day theme, Hands Up for #HIVPrevention, ACNL will continue to work with our partners to ensure access to prevention education, testing and treatment so we can achieve zero new infections,” he said.

A World AIDS Day poster campaign that encourages community members to know their HIV status by getting tested through the APPROACH program will be launched on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 10 a.m. at the Tommy Sexton Centre in St. John’s.

For updates on the APPROACH study, please follow the School of Pharmacy on Facebook and Twitter

For information on World AIDS Day, visit the campaign page.


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