People living in Duncan, Langford, and Victoria will now be able to access sexually transmitted infection and HIV testing without having to visit a doctor or nurse in person.
The BC Centre for Disease Control, in collaboration with Island Health, and LifeLabs, will be expanding the pilot program of GetCheckedOnline. The service has been available in Vancouver for the past 16 months, with over 400 clients accessing the service.
The idea behind the program is to provide a convenient alternative for those who would like to test more often or who find it difficult to visit a clinic for testing. This is the first online service in Canada offering confidential testing for STIs, HIV and hepatitis C.
Users can visit the website, create an account, answer a sexual history questionnaire and print a laboratory requisition for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and (if needed) hepatitis C testing. Users then go to a participating LifeLabs location to give specimens, and are notified by email when their results are ready.
If all results are negative, they can be viewed online. Clients with positive or inconclusive results will be contacted by a BCCDC nurse to arrange follow-up and appropriate treatment.
VIHA says the service was developed based on feedback from potential users and health-care professionals, and has undergone privacy and security reviews to safeguard a patient’s right to confidentiality.
It is an extension of BCCDC STI clinical services, which ensures that appropriate tests are done and that patients receive local treatment and follow-up.
If the service continues to show success, it will expanded to other communities in BC in the future.