How to get tested for HIV

Although there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, Ontario offers a number of testing and treatment programs. These programs help people with HIV/AIDS live for many years after contracting the disease.

All doctors, nurse practitioners and midwives in Ontario can order HIV tests. There are three types of tests:

  • standard HIV testing: a sample of your blood is taken and sent to a public health laboratory
  • anonymous testing: the test is ordered for you and your results are provided using a code known only to you. Anonymous HIV testing is offered at 50 locations in communities across Ontario
  • point of care testing: your blood is tested while you wait. If you test negative for HIV/AIDS, you will learn your results immediately. If you test reactive, your blood sample will be sent for standard testing

Prenatal HIV Testing

All pregnant women in Ontario are offered HIV testing as part of their pre-natal care.

When pregnant women with HIV are diagnosed early, they can receive treatment for themselves and treatment for their babies.

With prenatal testing and treatment, fewer than 2% of babies born to women with HIV are infected.

If you have more questions, contact your doctor or local public health unit.

Find your local public health unit.

Learn more about HIV/AIDS testing

To learn more:

If you have HIV/AIDS

Find an HIV clinic

You can go to one of 20 HIV clinics across Ontario. They provide many different types of health care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Some clinics also provide:

  • pediatric care
  • psychiatric services
  • care for the homeless

To find the nearest HIV clinic, call the Sexual Health Infoline Ontario at:

The info line also provides:

  • the ability to live chat with an HIV counsellor
  • province-wide information about HIV/AIDS, including HIV testing
  • anonymous counselling
  • a referral to community service agencies that support people with HIV/AIDS

Other specialized HIV care

Casey House

Casey House is a hospital providing both compassionate in-patient health care and community programming for people with HIV/AIDS.

Casey House provides:

  • Inpatient care
  • Day health care
  • Community care and outreach

Casey House provides inter-professional health services for people living with medically complex experiences of HIV/AIDS.

Learn more about Casey House.

Fife House

Fife House provides:

  • help with finding supportive housing for people with HIV/AIDS
  • programs that provide volunteer in-home hospice care

Learn more about Fife House.

If you are using injection drugs

Find an outreach program

You can meet with a prevention worker in the community and get help with:

  • HIV and HCV (hepatitis C) education
  • support
  • referrals

To meet with a prevention worker, contact the nearest outreach agency to you. If you need urgent help, call the Sexual Health Infoline Ontario toll free at 1-800-668-2437.

Find needle exchange and harm reduction programs

You can get free sterile harm-reduction supplies at over 35 needle exchange programs and over 370 access points across Ontario. Through these programs you can get:

  • safer-injection equipment including:
    • needles and syringes
    • sterile water
    • tourniquets
    • filters
    • vitamin C (acidifier)
    • cookers
  • safer-crack smoking equipment including:
    • pyrex stems
    • screens
    • pushsticks
    • mouthpieces

Through these programs, you can also:

  • safely dispose of both injection and crack smoking equipment
  • get condoms
  • get education and information
  • get referrals and counseling

Find the closest needle-exchange and harm-reduction program by contacting a public health unit near you or call the AIDS and Sexual Health Info Line toll free at 1-800-668-2437.

Who is at higher risk and how you can reduce your risk of getting HIV

Some populations are more affected by HIV than others. This is due to a mix of social and individual factors which affect a person’s ability to avoid HIV infection and make decisions that keep them healthy.

Populations that are considered to be at a higher risk of getting HIV include:

  • gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, including trans men
  • African, Caribbean and Black communities — including men and women from parts of Africa and the Caribbean where HIV is endemic
  • Indigenous peoples
  • people (men and women) who inject drugs (PWID)
  • at-risk women (women who are sexual partners or drug-using partners of people with HIV), including trans women

You can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by:

  • always using a condom when having sex
  • not sharing needles or other drug using equipment
  • using HIV medications
  • Whether you have HIV or are at risk, HIV medications can reduce transmission of HIV if taken consistently and correctly.

Learn more about these issues and how to protect yourself at CATIE: Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information.