HIV counselling and testing in nova scotia: The provincial strategy in the context of an international debate

Jacqueline C. Gahagan, Janice L. Fuller, Valerie Delpech, Larry N. Baxter, E. Michelle Proctor-Simms

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Nova Scotia, as a small province in Atlantic Canada, provides health care professionals and policy analysts with unique challenges for developing and implementing a strategy for accessible and acceptable HIV counselling and testing. Despite universal health care in Canada, barriers and challenges persist in relation to HIV counselling and testing programs and services in Nova Scotia. It is therefore necessary to examine the unique circumstances in the provision of programs and services in Nova Scotia prior to the possibility of adopting international HIV counselling and testing standards and guidelines being implemented in other jurisdictions. Nova Scotia's provincial strategy on HIV/AIDS promotes a harm-reduction approach for different populations in various service settings, recognizing the diverse circumstances and experiences of people living in Nova Scotia. By contrast, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended strategy promotes opt-out testing and in some instances alters the requirement of informed consent. As the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) revises the national HIV counselling and testing policies, it is imperative to address the unique characteristics of Nova Scotia's provision of services, and how divergent strategies have the potential to address or compound the barriers to access that exist in this province's communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-302
Number of pages3
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement of Support: This research was funded by the Nova Scotia Advisory Commission on AIDS.


  • HIV
  • HIV testing
  • Health policy
  • Public health
  • Public policy


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