HIV Information for Health Care Providers
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
HIV can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) if not treated. There is no cure for HIV, but it can be treated with medication. When treated, people living with HIV can have the same healthy lives, relationships and children, as people without HIV.
1. Saskatchewan HIV Collaborative
The Saskatchewan HIV Collaborative is a provincial committee with broad representation that provides expertise and advice on prevention, education, treatment and support services for communicable diseases, including HIV. The Collaborative includes representatives from the Ministry of Health, health system, First Nations Inuit Health Branch, Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, Public Health Agency of Canada, an Elder and people living with HIV.
For more information visit the Saskatchewan HIV Collaborative website.
2. HIV Testing
HIV self-test kits are a safe and reliable way to test yourself for HIV. You can do the test yourself, and get your results in just one minute. You don't have to go to a clinic or doctor's office.
To do the test, follow the instructions that come with the test kit. Use the materials in the test kit to prick your finger to get a little bit of blood. The test takes about one minute to do and you can read your result right away.
You will need to have a standard HIV test to confirm the result.
The standard HIV test is a blood test done at a clinic by a medical professional that tells you if you have been infected with HIV.
The body makes antibodies in response to infections. HIV antibodies are usually detected in the blood within 12 weeks after you have been infected with HIV.
If the test is positive, it means you are infected with HIV and can pass the virus on to others. The test does not tell when you became infected or when you will get sick.
A negative test means you are not infected. A test done before 12 weeks may not show correct results because it usually takes up to 12 weeks for your body to make HIV antibodies. Your health care provider will tell you if you need another test.
See client info sheet for more information on HIV standard testing.
HIV point of care testing
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) point of care (POC) testing refers to the practice of providing pre-test counselling, post-test counselling and a preliminary HIV antibody result at the time of testing outside of a designated laboratory.
The Guidelines for the Use of HIV Point of Care (POC) Test Kits in Saskatchewan outline situations and settings where HIV POC testing should be considered, pre- and post-test counselling guidelines to accompany the test and the public health roles and responsibilities under The Public Health Act, 1994 in relation to HIV POC testing.
For detailed information on how to set up a site to perform HIV POC testing and standard operating procedures, visit the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) Compendium of Tests.
3. Find HIV Testing Locations
The Government of Saskatchewan has made HIV self-test kits available, free of charge, at select public health clinics, pharmacies and community based organizations across the province.
If an individual tests positive, they are required to have confirmatory standard testing in order to be connected to treatment.
There are many standard HIV testing locations all over Saskatchewan. You can search for the closest clinic nearest you, using our interactive map.
Anonymous HIV testing clinics
You can choose to get an anonymous HIV test, which means you are not required to use your real name.
You will get counselling before and after testing. Counsellors will give you information about HIV-AIDS, answer your questions and provide support to help you understand and deal with your test results.
See contact information on anonymous testing clinics below.
101 - 15th Street
Prince Albert SK
2110 Hamilton Street
Toll free: 1-800-268-9888
Call to book an appointment
100-310 Idylwyld Drive North
4. HIV Prevention
The Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) is Canada's leading source for HIV and hepatitis C information. There are a number of ways to reduce the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Refer to the CATIE website for the most up-to-date information regarding HIV prevention.
Prevention and Risk Reduction (PRR) programs are part of a comprehensive public health disease prevention strategy to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infections. The distribution of supplies is intended to reduce the sharing of used needles, syringes and other injecting equipment among people who use injection drugs. The provision of PRR services in Saskatchewan is critically important due to the high prevalence of communicable disease attributed to injection drug use and other high-risk behaviours.
The Harm Reduction Report and Infographic provide an overview of harm reduction programs and services in Saskatchewan. The report discusses and describes the rationale behind Prevention and Risk Reduction programs, best practices utilized and the achievements made to date in these provincial programs.
5. HIV Awareness
The fear of stigma makes it more difficult for people who are living with HIV to come to terms with their diagnosis and causes reluctance for individuals to access HIV testing, treatment, and care.
In the following powerful videos, Saskatchewan people who have a close connection to HIV challenge the HIV stigma and encourage people to get tested and access treatment and support.
It's Different Now video (30'')
HIV is different now. Testing is easier. Prevention and treatment are better. Share the word and help end HIV.
- Priscilla Joseph - Making a Difference
- Jake Lachance - Dare to Care
- Susanne Nasewich - Dignity and Respect
- Ezra James - Challenge HIV Stigma
- Dr. Stuart Skinner talks about how HIV positive people who are in treatment can have much healthier, longer lives
To learn more about how stigma can negatively impact those affected by HIV and how it can be addressed, visit the Be in the Know website.
6. Saskatchewan HIV-AIDS Reports
Every year, the Ministry of Health releases a report that includes statistical data on HIV-AIDS in the Saskatchewan. See reports.
7. Saskatchewan HIV Strategy 2010-2014
The Saskatchewan HIV Strategy 2010 – 2014 aimed to:
- Reduce the number of new HIV cases;
- Improve the quality of life for people living with HIV; and
- Reduce the risk factors for HIV infection.
A strategy evaluation completed in June 2015 indicated that system improvements and increased resources positively impacted patient care and outcomes.
Positive outcomes included:
- increased testing and case finding;
- targeted educational opportunities;
- an enhanced focus on patient engagement;
- improved access to multidisciplinary teams in rural and remote areas; and
- a decrease in health care utilization.