The director of BC’s Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS wants everyone to voluntarily get tested for HIV every time they go to a clinic or hospital for any examination.
Though the plan has received some support in HIV circles, some worry that it poses privacy risks and may come at the expense of other HIV programs equally critical to prevention.
Dr Julio Montaner says the new testing push is needed to keep reducing the prevalence of HIV. The sooner people are diagnosed, the sooner they can begin treatment and therefore reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission, he says.
Plus, the more people get tested, the less stigma there will be around HIV, he argues.
"If you have been sexually active in the past five years, you owe it to yourself to take a test," Montaner tells Xtra, adding that he has secured provincial government funding for the increased testing.
"We're looking for a whole mass movement where we normalize HIV testing," he says.