Getting Tested

The only way to know for sure if you are HIV-negative or HIV-positive is by taking an HIV test. It’s a simple and easy blood test. 💉

You can get an HIV test at a doctor’s office, a clinic, or sometimes at local community health centres. In certain places, you can get an anonymous HIV test, meaning your name will never be attached to the results.

There are also rapid HIV tests which are fast and don’t hurt much or at all. Typically, they’re just a pinprick in your finger, and only take a few minutes to get your results.

Some tests can find results within a few weeks of HIV being in a body. Others take longer. Ask the person giving you the test whether it will detect any of the incidents you might be worried about.

If you’re having sex, it’s good to get tested for HIV and other STIs regularly. Untreated STIs increase HIV risk.

Here are some guidelines that can help you figure out how often.

If you have not had sex, get tested when you become sexually active.

If you’re having sex with just one person, or only having oral sex, you should get tested every 6-12 months.

If you’re having anal or frontal sex with a few people or more, having anal sex without condoms (barebacking), or are having sex with guys and you don’t know their HIV status, get tested every 3 months.

Maybe you’re nervous about getting tested — but it’s always good to know your status to make sure you’re doing everything you can to take care of your health. 👍

You can ask your best friend to go with you for the first time, or even a peer community worker to go with you or chat with you before and/or after getting tested – whatever helps get you there!

The sooner you know your HIV status, the sooner you can start treatment and be undetectable earlier. The person doing the testing is trained to tell you everything you’ll need to know, answer any questions you might have, and help you think about the results and your health.