HIV Testing Overview
When to Get Tested
Making an Appointment
Protecting Yourself and Others
Getting Your Test Results
Find More Information
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 remove the worry of not knowing.
- HIV will cause serious health problems, including death, if it isn't managed properly.
- HIV testing doesn't take long and can be done anonymously.
- 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
Before your HIV test you should speak with a clinic counsellor, nurse or doctor about the test, what the results mean, and what your risks might be. This is called "pre-test counsellingĒ.
Ways to Get Tested
There are different ways to get tested for HIV. At Peel Public Health Sexuality clinics, we offer:
- 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.
- 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.
BOTH the HIV Rapid Screening Test and the Standard HIV blood test are over 99.6% accurate in detecting HIV antibodies.
All Peel Public Health Healthy Sexuality clinics offer FREE, ANONYMOUS and CONFIDENTIAL HIV testing.
No health card is required for any type of HIV testing at a Peel Public Health Healthy Sexuality Clinic.
Getting accurate results depends on the time of your last possible exposure to HIV (unprotected sex, needle sharing). There is a window period, where it takes approximately 3 months for HIV antibodies to show up on an HIV test. If you have ever had a risky experience, it's a good idea to be tested for HIV. It's important to remember though that if you have had unprotected sex (oral, anal or vaginal) or shared needles within the last three months, the health care provider will recommend that you return for repeat testing to ensure that you have waited long enough for the test to be completely accurate.
When youíre ready to get tested, make an appointment with your family physician or at a Peel Public Health Healthy Sexuality Clinic near you.
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.
- 150 Central Park Dr.
(Civic Centre, Queen St. & Central Park Drive)
- 18 King St. E.
2nd Floor, Bolton
(Caledon Information Centre, King St. & Highway 50)
- 325 Central Parkway West, Unit 21
(Central Parkway West and Confederation Parkway in the Parkways West Plaza)
- The 2227 South Millway clinic is CLOSED-new location to be announced. South Millway clients are encouraged to visit the Meadowvale clinic.
- 7205 Goreway Dr.
(at Westwood Square Mall, Lower Level, B7)
- 6975 Meadowvale Town Centre Circle
Meadowvale Town Centre, Unit 3
- Using lubricated condoms for vaginal, oral or anal sex.
- Using non-lubricated condoms for oral sex on a man.
- Using extra-strength condoms with extra lubricant for anal sex.
- Limiting your number of sex partners.
- Not sharing needles, syringes, drug using equipment or sex toys.
- Using a latex barrier — also called a ‘dental dam’ or ‘dam’ — for anal-oral sex or for oral sex on a woman.
For a standard HIV test (where blood is taken from your arm) it will take approximately 2 weeks for your test results to come back from the lab. Two weeks after your test you can call the clinic for results.
If Your Test is Negative
A negative test means you didnít have any HIV antibodies in your blood at the time of your test.
If itís been 3 months after your last exposure and your test is negative, you donít have HIV. If itís been less than 3 months you should be re-tested.
Remember - if you engage in risky activities you may become infected with HIV at anytime.
If Your Test is Positive
A positive test means you have antibodies for HIV and can pass the virus to others.
No one knows when someone infected with HIV will develop AIDS. An early diagnosis lets you get medical advice and early treatment.
You must tell your sexual and needle sharing partners about your HIV status so they can be tested. You should also share this information with anyone else who might be exposed to your body fluids, such as doctors and dentists.
For more information about HIV/AIDS testing, contact:
- A Peel Public Health Healthy Sexuality Clinic near you or call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700
- The Ontario AIDS Hotline: 1-800-668-2437
- The Peel HIV/AIDS Network (PHAN): 905-361-0523
- Your family doctor
Disclaimer: This webpage is for information purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice.