Health fair to boost awareness about STD testing

Low STD testing statistics in Brandon leads 7th Street Access Clinic to establish annual fair that will also incorporate information on other health issues.

A health and wellness fair at the Town Centre in Brandon on Tuesday has been scheduled to boost awareness about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) is hosting its second annual Free Health and Wellness Fair from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 13 in an effort to get more people to consider checking for STDs. The fair was established after PMH found concerning statistics on the issue in Brandon.

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“I work at the 7th Street Access Clinic and we have an HIV clinic there,” said Philip Fourie, a clinical assistant at the downtown health facility. “We saw that testing numbers were really low compared to the rest of Manitoba, so we wanted to create an event to increase the testing numbers and it expanded from there. We included stations for mental health, addictions, cancer care and it all snowballed from there.”

About 80 individuals attended the 2017 health and wellness fair, which was held later in the day to accommodate the work schedules of Brandon residents. Fourie said this year’s event has been scheduled to take place mostly through the early afternoon in an effort to make the promotion more well rounded.

This year’s fair will include information on sexual health and testing, addictions, smoking cessation methods, cancer screening, breathing tests, nutrition and midwifery services alongside height, weight and blood pressure checks. Service Canada is participating by providing an avenue for individuals to register for identification cards and Social Insurance Numbers. Representatives from the Women’s Resource Centre, Healthy Brandon, Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Rana Medical and Westman Immigration Services are also participating.

A free lunch will be provided as part of the health and wellness fair, and various prizes will be handed out.

“Last year, we focused on the downtown population because it was close to home (for the 7th Street Access Clinic), but we wanted to open it up more for everyone,” Fourie said. “We’ve put up posters at Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College and gave one to the mall as well.”

The 7th Street Access Clinic – which recently incorporated a Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine services as part of its operations – will also be expanding its STD testing promotion through Dec. 1, which is World AIDS Day. The clinic will have a mobile testing unit moving through the city at that time.

For more information on the 2018 Free Health and Wellness Fair, contact Kristal McKinney at (204) 578-4800, or email her at

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