A REACH Collaboration
REACH Nexus is the lead partner for I'm Ready, working together with stakeholders and CBOs. WHIWH and the CBRC are active collaborators for the peer navigator service and the I'm Ready, Connect telehealth platform.
People at-risk of HIV and undiagnosed, marginalized populations
Health care actors and policymakers; general population
Early 2021, ongoing
Despite major enhancements in medical science that make HIV a treatable, liveable disease, HIV rates are increasing in Canada. Plus, a significant number of people in Canada are living with HIV but don’t know it. Canada has the healthcare services to help HIV+ people live long, healthy lives and prevent transmission to others, but people can’t get treatments if they’re not diagnosed and, to date, testing options haven’t everyone’s needs.
By offering low-barrier options to testing, connections to care and performing evaluation, the I’m Ready program aims to generate much-needed data on how to increase HIV testing accessibility and health equity, all while reducing the HIV infection rate.
The I’m Ready program will use a telehealth-style platform staffed by informed, trained people with lived experience, called peer navigators. These peer navigators will directly support the health and well-being of program participants. They’ve been trained to be specialists in various areas, like prevention and protection, and on where to find local resources.
I’m Ready is a first-of-its-kind national research program providing people in Canada with 60,000 free, accurate, confidential HIV self-test kits and the choice to connect to care through on-demand technology platforms and trained peer counselling. This program will also collect anonymized data from participants through surveys.
The program will compile research data from consenting participants using a website, mobile App and an online tele-health services platform. If someone want to know their status and help the research, all they have to do is download the I'm Ready, GO app to order up to three HIV self-testing kits. Once they have a kit, they can use the GO app to test on their own and get more information or they can book time with a peer navigator through the I'm Ready, Connect telehealth platform for support before, during or after they take the test.
The research data will be used to assess the adoption and effectiveness of the program and to evaluate its capabilities as a scalable, sustainable, low-barrier tool to access HIV testing and care in Canada.
"Ending the transmission of HIV starts with a test."
I’m Ready aims to reach the undiagnosed and to give people choices to know their status and connect to care, while also collecting data to improve HIV testing and care in Canada.
On November 3, 2020, Health Canada approved the country’s first HIV self-test (INSTI® HIV Self-Test (INSTI ST). Canadians can now know their HIV status within minutes using a safe, accurate and confidential at-home test. As Canada’s first HIV self-test and online support research program, I’m Ready was designed to use this opportunity to offer HIV self-testing together with connections to care in a way that enhances choice, reduces barriers and expands access to diagnosis and treatment, through both assisted and unassisted program pathways.
I’m Ready is also assessing the participant experience in the online support platform, including whether the online peer navigator model for help with testing and connections to care reduces stigma. The long-term goal is to continue to provide HIV self-testing access through the program and to integrate additional Health Canada-approved tests into the platform as they become available and as the platform is proved sustainable.
Get a Test > Take a Test > Know Your Status > Get Supports > Repeat
Results of the I’m Ready implementation science program will be analysed and released through publications to peer-reviewed journals after one year of service. At this time, the program’s success and sustainability will be evaluated. Results of the study and ongoing outcomes from the data will also be posted here on the REACH Nexus website.