Testing for HIV/AIDS

This webpage is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Are you at risk for HIV/AIDS?

The only way to really know if you have HIV, AIDS, or another STI is to get tested. Don’t let anxiety stop you! If you feel uneasy about getting tested, remember that:

  • Getting tested will take away the worry of not knowing.
  • HIV will cause serious health problems if it isn’t managed properly.
  • HIV testing doesn’t take long and can be done anonymously.

[ HIV Testing Overview ][ Getting Tested ][ Anonymous Testing ]
[ Protecting Yourself and Others ][ Getting Your Test Results ][ Find More Information ]

HIV Testing Overview

HIV testing:

  • Involves a nurse or doctor discussing the testing process with you beforehand
  • Will include counselling before the test
  • Involves a specific type of blood test
  • Isn’t automatic and shouldn’t take place without your consent
  • Isn’t a part of your routine blood test or included with any other STI testing
  • Is confidential, and can be done anonymously at any Peel Healthy Sexuality Clinic
  • Only you will get the results in person or over the phone

Pre-Test Counselling

Before your HIV test you will speak with a healthcare practitioner about the test, what the results mean, and what your risks might be. This is called "pre-test counselling”.

Getting Tested

Ways to Get Tested

There are different ways to get tested for HIV. At Peel Public Health Sexuality clinics, we offer:

  1. Standard HIV test - blood is taken from a vein in the arm and sent to a laboratory for testing – results take approximately 2 weeks to be returned to the clinic. You can call the clinic in 2 weeks after your test to get the results.
  2. Rapid HIV screening test (Point of care) for eligible clients - blood is taken from a tiny prick at the end of your finger and screening results are known within a few minutes. A nurse or doctor will determine if you are eligible to receive a Point of Care test.

No health card is required for any type of HIV testing at a Peel Public Health Healthy Sexuality Clinic and the service is free.

When to Get Tested

Getting accurate results depends on the time of your last possible exposure to HIV (unprotected sex, needle sharing). It takes approximately 3 months for HIV antibodies to show up on an HIV test, this is called the window period. If you have ever had a risky experience such as unprotected vaginal or anal sex or ever shared needles with someone, it’s a good idea to be tested for HIV. It is important to remember though that if you have unprotected sex or shared needles within the last three months, the healthcare practitioner will test you today and recommend that you return for repeat testing to ensure that you have waited long enough for the test to be completely accurate.

Making an Appointment

When you’re ready to get tested, make an appointment with your family physician or drop in to a Peel Healthy Sexuality Clinic near you .

Anonymous Testing

Anonymous testing in Peel is offered at Peel Public Health Healthy Sexuality Clinics (not at your family physician’s office or walk-in where you need to use your health card).

If you choose anonymous testing:

  • Only your first name will be used.
  • Your address isn’t necessary.
  • Only you will get the results.

Protecting Yourself and Others

Regardless of your test results you should always prevent the spread of STIs , HIV and Hepatitis B by:

  • Using lubricated condoms for vaginal, or anal sex.
  • Using non-lubricated condoms for oral sex on a man.
  • Using a latex barrier — also called a ‘dental dam’ or ‘dam’ — for anal-oral sex or for oral sex on a woman.
  • Using extra-strength condoms with extra lubricant for anal sex.
  • Limiting your number of sex partners.
  • Not sharing needles, syringes or drug using equipment.
  • Not sharing sex toys

Getting Your Test Results

If your blood is sent to the Public Health Lab it will take approximately 2-3 weeks for your test results to come back. You can call the clinic 2 weeks after your test to get the results.

If Your Test is Negative…

  • It means you didn't have HIV antibodies in your blood at the time of your test
  • If it's been 3 months after your last exposure and your test is negative, you don't
    have HIV
  • If it's been less than 3 months you should be re-tested, ensuring safer-sex and needle sharing practices until the time of your next test.

If Your Test is Positive…

  • A positive test means you have antibodies for HIV.
  • It does NOT automatically mean that you have AIDS.

Find More Information

For more information about HIV/AIDS testing, contact:

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