Testing for HIV/AIDS

If you think you might need to be tested for HIV/AIDS, you have choices about how you are tested. Make sure you get counselling and information before you have the test.

How do I know if I should be tested for HIV/AIDS?

Here is a simple quiz to see if you should be screened for HIV:

  1. Have you ever had sex with someone infected with HIV/AIDS?
  2. Have you ever had anal sex?
  3. Have you ever shared needles , water, spoons or filters to take drugs or other substances?
  4. Are you sure about your partners' sex practices or drug use?
  5. Have you had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) ?
  • If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may want to be tested.
  • If you are negative, then having the test done will allow you to stop worrying. You can then take steps to protect yourself in the future and stay negative.
  • If you are positive, early diagnosis will allow for treatment to either help delay or prevent life-threatening illness.
  • It is easier to cope with HIV and plan for the future when you are healthy. You then also have the advantage of connecting with support and service groups to help you cope.

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What types of testing are used to detect HIV/AIDS?

  • Anonymous testing: available at specific locations where there is no record of your name.
  • Non-nominal testing: while a record of your name is kept at the clinic, it is not put on the lab sample or form. A specific number assigned to you is used instead. If negative, it is kept confidential (i.e. no one will know that it was done unless you give permission to tell). If positive, your name would be reported to the health department.
  • Nominal testing: name is put on both lab sample and form. There is no confidentiality.

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When Should I Have The Test Done?

The recommended time to have testing done is about 14 weeks or 3 months after you think you may have put yourself at risk.

If you have concerns, please contact your local AIDS Network, e-mail  info@aidsnetwork.ca or visit one of our Sexual Health Clinics .

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