SmartSex Resource – STI Updates: Interior Health gets sexy to promote HIV testing

smartsexresourceby Trevor Corneil, Medical Health Officer & Medical Director, STOP HIV/AIDS, Interior Health

A new campaign is launched
Interior Health has launched a new campaign to encourage all adults in the region to get tested for HIV. The “My Health Is Sexy” campaign uses intimate images to convey the message that knowing your HIV status is an important part of a healthy sex life and a good relationship. Campaign materials include a website (www.MyHealthisSexy.com), as well as social media and print materials.

 

Why now?
The campaign is part of the province’s Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS (STOP HIV/AIDS) program. The STOP HIV/AIDS program aims to reduce HIV transmission and improve the health outcomes of those living with HIV by offering widespread HIV testing, treatment, and early engagement into care.

In B.C., it is estimated that approximately 3,500 are people living with HIV and are unaware of their status. The campaign sets out to change this.

Today, people living with HIV and receiving treatment can expect to live longer, healthy lives free of symptoms. In fact, research has shown that an early diagnosis in combination with sustained antiretroviral therapy means HIV-positive people can expect to live up to an additional five and a half decades. In addition, sustained treatment can greatly reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission.

 

What’s up next?
The first phase of the campaign promotes HIV testing for all adults with specific materials targeting men who have sex with men.

Future campaign materials will target additional high prevalence populations including injection drug users and sex trade workers. The campaign is being supported by health outreach nurses, a mobile team that offers discreet and confidential testing for those who may not access testing in traditional locations.

 

For more information
For more information on the campaign, visit MyHealthisSexy.
For information on B.C.’s STOP HIV/AIDS program, download From Hope to Health: Towards an AIDS-free Generation.

 

About Interior Health
Interior Health is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and providing a wide range of quality health-care services to more than 742,000 people living across B.C.’s vast interior. For more information, visit www.interiorhealth.ca