With the help of the Interior Health Authority and LifeLabs, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s new online STI testing service is now available in Kamloops. GetCheckedOnline will allow individuals to requisition lab tests and view the results from the privacy of their own home.
The service has gained approximately 2,000 individual accounts since it started about 18 months ago in Vancouver, according to Maja Karlsson, Interior Health’s HIV Services program manager. Currently, residents of Kamloops require the promotional code, “thompson,” to create an account on GetCheckedOnline.
Designed to allow easier access to STI testing in B.C., the testing service first presents individuals with a questionnaire on their sexual history after creating an account, and depending on the results, then allows them to requisition lab tests.
Though they will still have to take the requisition form to and get tested by a participating lab, Karlsson says that the service allows individuals in remote locations or in difficult situations, as well as those wishing for more privacy, to still have access to services they might need.
“For STIs, it is often a challenging conversation for people to have with their healthcare provider, and so this is one way to reduce the barrier for that,” Karlsson said.
After being tested at a lab, such as the Kamloops LifeLabs location on Tranquille Rd, individuals will have to wait about a week to get their results, Karlsson said.
From their own home, they will be able to view the results and take further action from there if necessary. Positive and inconclusive results are always looked into by the B.C. CDC, however, with a registered nurse reaching out to the individual to encourage them to either talk to a healthcare provider in the case of a positive result or requisition for the lab work to be redone in the case of an inconclusive result.
“If it is that there’s a positive test, let’s say it is a positive test for chlamydia, which is actually probably the most common positive test that we are anticipating, then the individual and the nurse will then decide where he or she wants to go for treatment,” Karlsson said.
Though the B.C. CDC will recommend partnered clinics to individuals in need of treatment, they are in no way obliged to seek professional care at these locations, Karlsson said.
TRU’s Wellness Centre offers their own form of STI testing, though the testing service on campus primarily focuses on HIV, according to TRU Wellness Coordinator Chelsea Corsi.
TRU Wellness, in partnership with TRU Health Services and a team of nurses from the Kamloops Public Health Unit have been offering free monthly testing on campus for the last two years, Corsi said.
On the last Thursday of every month, nurses come to campus and offer free and confidential HIV testing using either the rapid-HIV test or actual blood draws.
Students can book appointments for testing through TRU Health Services at 250-828-5126, or drop-in if there is space.