McGuinty government improves supportive services for people with HIV/AIDS

August 13, 2015

"This new housing unit will bring together people living with HIV/AIDS and Toronto seniors to create a unique new community," Smitherman said. "This project carries on a tradition of responsive, compassionate care in our downtown Toronto community." Smitherman announced $792,000 new operating funds to provide supportive housing services for 30 additional clients living with HIV/AIDS. Fife House currently offers services to 125 clients with HIV/AIDS at four sites.

The new building will also be the home of 75 frail elderly persons at risk of being homeless. "I am thrilled with this announcement by the minister of health," said Kyle Rae, Councillor, Toronto Centre-Rosedale. "I am very excited that all three levels of government are involved in creating supportive housing for the vulnerable in our community." Ruthann Tucker, Executive Director, Fife House added: "This is an extremely important announcement because it will allow us to reach out to more people living with HIV/AIDS including, for the first time, families." This new 112-unit apartment building will be located at the former Wellesley Hospital site.

The building - being developed by a group that includes Fife House, Woodgreen Community Centre and the Wellesley Central Health Corporation - is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2006. The Ontario government is providing $160,000 in operating funds to Fife House and $632,000 in operating funds to Woodgreen Community Centre.

Wellesley Central Health Corporation has requested capital funding for this initiative from the City of Toronto and the federal government through the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI) fund.

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Secretary Thompson also announced that $4.8 million has been allocated to HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) from the National Minority AIDS Initiative Secretariat fund to support new demonstrations for rapid HIV test technologies. This includes both testing kits and, critically, the training to support their proper use. SAMHSA will incorporate rapid HIV testing into its programs for reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS among injection drug users and their sex partners, who represent one-third of persons infected with HIV in the U.S.

Each year, 8,000 HIV-infected people who come to public clinics for HIV testing do not return a week later to receive their test results. With the new rapid HIV test, individuals need only give a drop of blood or a swab of saliva, and the results are available on the spot in about 20 minutes. As with all screening tests for HIV, if the OraQuick gives a reactive test result, that result must be confirmed with an additional specific test.

Widespread availability of the rapid oral version of the HIV test will likely further increase overall HIV testing and decrease the number of people -- an estimated 225,000 Americans -- who are unaware they are infected with the HIV virus. Early testing enables infected individuals to obtain medical care earlier in the course of their infection, potentially saving lives and limiting the spread of this deadly virus.

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