If your HIV self-test result is negative
If you live in Alberta and your test results are negative, call your health care provider or Health Link 811 by dialing 8-1-1 on your phone, or visit the Alberta Health Services Health Link webpage.
Health Link staff can:
- give you information on HIV and self-testing;
- answer frequently asked questions;
- help you with navigating My Health Alberta, which has information on HIV, U=U, HIV self-testing, and links to APL/Dynalife lab hours and walk-in locations;
- use Health Link processes to help you find a primary care physician if needed;
- refer you to community-based organizations for support and harm reduction supplies; and
- recommend testing for other STBBIs.
Your primary care provider can refer you for PrEP. You can learn about PrEP and how to access PrEP in Alberta at Queer and Trans Health Collective. Alberta Health Services also hosts a list of designated Alberta PrEP providers. In addition, visit GoFreddie, a telemedicine service that connects Albertans with access to physicians’ online who specialize in HIV care and are certified to prescribe the preventative medication HIV PrEP.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a way to help prevent HIV from being transmitted to an HIV-negative person who may have been exposed to the virus. You must start PEP within 72 hours of being exposed. This is different from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which you start taking before and continue taking after being exposed to HIV. If you think you need PEP, go to your nearest emergency department or a sexual health clinic right away.
If your HIV self-test result is positive
Call Health Link 811 for linkage to HIV confirmatory testing, treatment and care or harm reduction. They can also support you with information on sexual health, additional testing for other sexually transmitted infections, or help you find local primary healthcare providers or community-based organizations.
You can also schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss next steps.
About HIV confirmatory testing
You should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible to tell them that your result was positive so you can get the information and support you need to take care of your health. The self-test you took is a highly accurate screening test, however all HIV self-test positive results need to be confirmed by a lab test that your healthcare provider can order to give you a formal HIV diagnosis.
While there is no cure for HIV, HIV is treatable. People with HIV on treatment can live long, healthy lives. The medications used to treat HIV are called antiretrovirals. They prevent the virus from replicating and slow the disease’s progress. Starting antiretroviral therapy early can lower the virus in you to an undetectable level so that you can stay healthy, and so that you can’t transmit the virus to others.
You can request HIV confirmatory testing from your primary care provider, or:
- You can request HIV confirmatory serology lab requisition from your primary care provider or walk-in clinic (if you do not have a primary care provider)
- Visit AHS-run STI clinic or
- HIV Edmonton (if you’re in Edmonton), 9702 111 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5G 0B2, (780) 488-5742
About HIV treatment and care
If you get confirmatory testing done and the result is positive, your primary care provider will receive the confirmatory positive result and collaborate with the Southern Alberta Clinic (SAC) or the Northern Alberta Program (NAP) to start your treatment. SAC and NAP can also provide psychosocial supports and help you find a primary care provider if you do not have one.
- SAC is located in the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, Room 3223, Third Floor, 1213 4 Street SW Calgary, Alberta 403-955-6399)
- NAP is located in the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, 11400 University Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T6G 1Z1, 780-407-5000.
If your HIV self-test result is invalid
If the HIV self-test results are invalid (i.e., no visible control dot), this means that the test did not work. If this happens, you should:
- Repeat the self-test with a new test kit and pay close attention to the instructions for use to ensure that the test procedure is conducted correctly.
- You can visit any specialized sexual health clinic, Family Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or walk-in clinic to find out about other HIV testing options, such as laboratory-based or point-of-care testing.
- You can call Health Link 811 by dialling 8-1-1 on your phone to get help with connecting with a primary care provider or connect with your primary care provider I you have one.
- You can also visit HIV411.ca to find HIV testing locations near you.
Sexual health and other STI testing services in Alberta
- To find out more about sex, sexual health and how to test for sexually transmitted infections, visit Alberta Health Services’ list of regional services.
- You can also find information at MyHealth.Alberta.ca.
- To locate different community-based organizations in Alberta you can visit HIV411.ca, a website that lists HIV and hepatitis C services.
About harm reduction services in Alberta
- MyHealth.Alberta.Ca has a list of harm reduction services in Alberta.
- You can also call Health Link 811 for referral to any of the listed harm reduction services.