Sexual health fair, HIV testing to be held June 27

Fort St. John city councillors have proclaimed June 23 to 30 as Sexual Health Week in the city.

The proclamation was made Monday afternoon ahead of National HIV Testing Day and a sexual health fair being organized in the city on June 27. It's a collaboration between the Women's Resource Society, Positive Living North, and Healthy FSJ.

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"When we started working on Healthy FSJ … we created it as a vehicle that we could have many conversations that we knew needed to take place in our community," Trotter said. "That ranges from opioids to things like sexual health week."

One in five Canadians living with HIV are unaware of their status, and make up 75% of new infections.

"That's quite significant," Trotter said. "A lot of people don't know their status. A lot of people are having unprotected sex, people might be sharing needs as well. Quite significant. It's quite important that we know."

The city lost its only STI testing clinic years ago, making testing more difficult to access locally. And since its closure, no real data has recollected or measured about STI rates in the region.

Testing for HIV, Hepatitis C, and syphilis will be available at The Healing Place at 10045-100 Avenue on June 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organizers hope the event will help start conversations to eliminate stigma around sexual and reproductive health.

"Part of this campaign was to be part of the national campaign and knowing your status, and how important that is," said Heather Paddison, a community health educator for Positive Living North.

"But also to bring that awareness and some of those statistics and some health back to Fort St. John and our region."

A barbecue and health fair will be held at 100 and 100 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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