Testing Options & Methods



There are a few things you need to know before taking an HIV test. Screening tests are over 99.5% accurate, but the testing options and methods are different depending on the testing location. Regardless of the option and method available at your location, you should receive both pre and post-test counselling.

Testing Options

Anonymous HIV Testing

Anonymous testing is one of the three ways that people in Ontario can be tested for HIV. In anonymous testing, the name or identity of the person being tested is not requested, recorded or reported. The test is ordered using a code known only to the person being tested.

Because of the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, some people are anxious about being tested. Anonymous testing offers them a way to be tested without revealing their identity. Although anonymous HIV testing sites do not ask for clients’ names, they do ask for information about the person’s age, gender and risk factors that is used to help researchers better understand how and why HIV is spreading in Ontario.

Nominal and Non-Nominal HIV Testing:

All doctors, nurse practitioners, and midwives in Ontario can order HIV tests. They can order the test using your name (nominal testing) or using a code (non-nominal testing) that they can link back to your name.


Standard HIV Antibody Blood Testing

Standard HIV testing is done by taking a blood sample and sending it to the public health laboratory. It can take up to two weeks to get the results, and you have to return to your healthcare provider or clinic to receive the results.

Blood Sample Taken

Sent to Lab

Wait for Two Weeks

Return for Results

Point of Care HIV Testing

Point of care testing is done by pricking your finger and testing your blood while you wait. If you test negative – that is, the point of care test says you are not infected – you receive your results immediately. If you test reactive – that is, the result of the point of care test is not certain – the clinic will take a blood sample and send it to the public health laboratory for standard testing. It can take up to two weeks to get the final results, and you will have to return to the clinic to get your results.

If you have concerns regarding who can have access to your tests results, it is important to ask your testing location about their privacy policies and whom they are required to report a positive result to. For the testing sites located closest to you, contact one of the locations listed on our website, your family doctor or your local community clinic.

Pre- and Post-test Counselling

The goal of pre- and post-test counselling is to provide information about HIV testing, prevention and services that will help people assess their risk, make an informed decision to be tested, learn how to take precautions to protect themselves and others from exposure or re-exposure to the virus, and find out where to go for additional information or support. For people who test positive for HIV, the goals of counselling are also to provide information and support in dealing with an HIV diagnosis, as well as connect people to services that will help them cope with the diagnosis, manage their HIV, prevent further transmissions and live healthy, satisfying lives.

Translate »