If your HIV self-test result is negative
If you live in Nova Scotia and your test results are negative, call 811 for health advice and information on services such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and harm reduction. 811 can also provide information on sexual health, additional testing for other sexually transmitted infections, or help with finding local community-based organizations and service providers. You can also call the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia at 1-800-566-2437 or (902) 425-4882.
Currently, PrEP is not free in Nova Scotia. It’s an exception drug under Provincial Pharmacare, which means that people must be enrolled in a Pharmacare program and meet clinical criteria. The cost covered by the government for each person is different depending on the applicable copayment and deductible for their Pharmacare program. For example, those who are enrolled in the Family Pharmacare program are responsible for co-pays and deductibles of up to 20% of their household income. For those who receive Income Assistance from the Department of Community Services, out-of-pocket-costs are limited to a $5 copayment per prescription filled.
If you have one, contact your primary healthcare provider (e.g., family doctor, nurse practitioner). If you don’t have a primary care provider or aren’t able to see them, you can call or connect to the Halifax Sexual Health Centre (902) 455-9656. They offer non-nominal (where a reference code between you and your healthcare provider ensures that your provider knows who you are but no one else does) and Anonymous HIV testing.
Your primary health care provider can call Dr. Glenn Andrea at Dalhousie Health Services, 902-494-2171.
Note: Dr. Andrea is accepting referrals from other primary health care providers for consultation on PrEP initiation with their patients.
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 right away.
If your HIV self-test result is positive
You can call 811 or visit their website for health advice and information about HIV confirmatory testing, treatment and care, and harm reduction. 811 can also provide information on sexual health, additional testing for other sexually transmitted infections, and they can help with in finding local community-based organizations and service providers.
You can also contact your primary care provider toschedule an appointment 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:
- contact AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia at (902) 425-4882 or 1-800-566-2437 for information and referral;
- go to nearest walk-in clinic; or
- visit your nearest hospital emergency department
You can also contact any of the services listed below.
University-based health services for confirmatory testing
- Dalhousie University’s Student Health and Wellness Centre . Available for currently registered students and community patients only. Appointments can be booked online or by phoning 902-494-2171.
- Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU)’s Health and Wellness Services, Mount Saint Vincent Health Office, 902-457-6354. Available for currently registered students and community familypractice patients. Some walk-in appointments are available to registered community patients until the university re-opens in Sept 2021.
- St. Francis Xavier University. Call them at (902) 867-2263. Available to registered/current students only between September and April (closed May through August). Students must register online for Health Myself before booking an appointment.
More health services for confirmatory testing
- Halifax Sexual Health Centre: (902) 455-9656. Non-nominal and nominal HIV testing are available for confirmatory testing.
- STI and STD Clinic, QE11, Halifax: (902) 473-2272. Call between 1-3 pm to book evening appt between 5-8pm, Mondays AND Thursdays only.
- Ally Centre Primary Health Care Clinic – Ally Centre of Cape Breton (ACCB) in Sydney: (902) 567-1766, or (902) 567-1123. Anonymous HIV and confidential STBBI testing (Mon, Tues, Thurs).
- Mobile Outreach Street Health, Halifax: Available to those experiencing homelessness or who are street-involved. Contact their Outreach Nursing Line at (902) 802-3332.
- The Red Door (Youth Health and Support Centre), Kentville: Confidential sexual health services such as HIV testing, health education and promotion for youth 13 to 30 years of age. Open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9am to 2pm. Contact them at (902) 679-1411, or by email.
- Truro Sexual Health Centre: Sexual health clinic available 1 evening/week to residents of the Northern Health Zone including HIV testing requisition (no blood draw on site). Call (902) 789-8095.
About HIV treatment and care
Referrals to HIV treatment are made by a healthcare provider after a positive result is confirmed by laboratory testing. You can contact the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia (902) 425-4882 for information, or schedule an appointment with your primary care providerto discuss treatment and care options.
If your HIV self-test result is invalid
If the HIV self-test result is 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 also visit HIV411.ca to find HIV testing locations near you.
- Call 811, or the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia at (902) 425-4882, for information on where to get standard laboratory testing.
More sexual and other health resources in Nova Scotia
Below is a list of organizations and some primary care service providers that provide information, support, and/or sexual health-related care including STBBI testing and treatment.
- North Preston Community Health and Wellness Centre: Provides health care services and wellness programming for the communities of North Preston, East Preston, Cherry Brook and Lake Loon. Call 902-434-3807.
- NS Brotherhood Initiative: A free program for Black men to access health care to improve overall health and wellbeing. A team of healthcare professionals provide culturally appropriate primary medical care plus health and wellness services for men of African descent across Halifax Regional Municipality. For appointments or for general information, call 902-434-0824 or send them an email.
- Mobile Outreach Street Health: Available to those experiencing homelessness or who are street-involved. Contact their Outreach Nursing Line at (902) 802-3332.
- prideHealth, NSHA: Information and navigation supports for 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Call them at 902-487-0470 or send them an email.
- STI and STD Clinic, QE11: Call them at (902) 473-2272.
- Sexual Health Nova Scotia:
- Six (6) SHNS member-centres throughout the province provide sexual health information, education, support, referral, and supplies. For information about your closest centre and services provided visit their website or call (902) 543-6900.
- Halifax Sexual Health Centre (see above under “Accessing PrEP in Nova Scotia” and “More health services for confirmatory testing”) also operates a sexual health clinic. Call them at (902) 455-9656.
- The Red Door (Youth Health and Support Centre), Kentville: Confidential sexual health services such as HIV testing, health education and promotion for youth 13 to 30 years of age. Open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Call them at (902) 679-1411 or send them an email.
- AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia: Call them at (902) 425-4882 or email them.
- Ally Centre of Cape Breton: Call them at (902) 567-1766 or email them.
- Northern Healthy Connections Society: Call them at (902) 895-0931 or (902) 965-3965 (mobile).
- Healing Our Nations: Education information and support for Indigenous communities in Atlantic Canada. Call their regional number at 1-800-565-4255 or their local number at (902) 492-4255.
- Local Public Health Services Office: Contact them to learn more about services available in your area.
- HIV411.ca: An online directory where you can find a local AIDS Service Organization (ASO).
Harm reduction services in Nova Scotia
Needle Distribution & Disposal (aka needle exchange) & Naloxone training, education, support
- Mainline Needle Exchange: (902) 423-9991, Outreach (902) 830-3853; Toll-free 1-877-904-4555.
- Northern Healthy Connections Society:(902) 895-0931 or (902) 965-3965 (mobile).
- Sharp Advice Needle Exchange (ACCB): 902-539-5556 and thee Ally Centre of Cape Breton (ACCB) (902) 567-1766 ).
Opioid Treatment & Naloxone training
- Direction 180: (902) 420-0566.
- ReFIX Overdose Prevention Site: located on the lower level of Brunswick Street Mission, 2017 Brunswick Street, Monday to Saturday, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.