We are excited to share that I’m Ready, a major HIV self-testing research program has launched from REACH Nexus, which is the same research team that got Canada’s first HIV self-test approved last November. I’m Ready’s goals are to reach people who are undiagnosed, get them connected to care, and to learn through the research how to improve HIV testing and care in Canada, all with an ultimate goal of ending Canada’s HIV epidemic.
In congratulating the team launch of I’m Ready, Federal Minister of Health the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P. writes “Accessing culturally safe and timely HIV testing and treatment is still a challenge for many, and has been made increasingly difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initiatives like the ‘I’m READY’ program are crucial for getting self-test kits in the hands of people across the country, and connecting them to vital health resources.”
The I’m Ready study will distribute 50,000 free HIV self-testing kits across Canada and be asking questions of the people who will use them. Access to kits and study participation is done anonymously through an innovative mobile app designed to improve HIV testing and care. Participants can sign up for the program easily and anonymously, and it’s open to anyone in Canada over the age of 18.
There are 20 HIV self-test pickup locations in BC, in regions served by Northern Health, Island Health, Interior Health, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority regions. Find a site in your region by clicking I’m Ready pickup locations and filtering results for BC. The PAN team, in partnership with the I’m Ready team, has also worked with all of the health authorities to develop Prevention and Care Pathways for everyone who tests in BC.
The I’m Ready research program’s core partners are the Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African & Caribbean Network (CHABAC), Women’s Health in Women’s Hands (WHIWH) and the Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC). WHIWH and CBRC are partners specifically in the I’m Ready, Talk a secure telehealth service that allows participants to access peer navigators, component of the program.
I’m Ready has the potential to be pivotal in ending the HIV epidemic in Canada, and to have real impacts here in BC.
The program is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation and Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR)’s Strategic Initiatives.
You can learn more about I’m Ready at readytoknow.ca/.
Watch the launch event featuring Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. This event took place on June 2, 2021.