If your HIV self-test result is negative
If you live in Prince Edward Island and your HIV self-test results are negative, contact your Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner for sexual health care information and support. If you do not have a Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner, you can sign up for the patient registry online to find one.
- Those without a family doctor or nurse practitioner can also access sexual health care via the PEI Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services (1-844-365-8258), which provides sexual health care to Island residents of all genders, sexual orientations and ages at various sites across PEI.
- Call 1-844-365-8258 (toll free) to get connected to prevention services such as PrEP, PEP, harm reduction. You can also call this number for information on sexual health and additional testing for other sexually transmitted infections.
Any licensed Doctor or Nurse Practitioner can provide a prescription for HIV PrEP. They may take you through an assessment to evaluate your HIV risk. Note that going on PrEP involves regular testing for HIV infection and check-ins with your healthcare provider.
For more information about PrEP, visit CATIE’s website. You can also call the PEI Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services (1-844-365-8258).
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.
To access PEP in PEI:
- PEP is available through the PEI Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services (1-844-365-8258). Same-day appointments are available for this service during the week.
- PEP starter packs (4-days) are accessible via Emergency Departments (EDs) in PEI. If you are approved for a starter pack, you’ll be given a prescription to cover the remaining 24 days of treatment. If you don’t have insurance, the province will cover the costs of the prescription.
When you’re accessing PEP in PEI, the healthcare provider will discuss the situation with you to determine exposure risk together.
If your HIV self-test results is positive
Contact your Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner for HIV confirmatory testing, treatment and care and harm reduction. You can also contact them for information on sexual health, and additional testing for other STBBIs.
- If you do not have a Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner, you can sign up for the patient registry online to find one.
- Those without a Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner can also access sexual health care via the PEI Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services (1-844-365-8258), which provides sexual health care to Island residents of all genders, sexual orientations and ages at various sites across PEI.
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.
About HIV treatment and care
- Your Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner, or a healthcare professional at the Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services, can facilitate access to care or provide a referral to an infectious disease specialist off-island.
- The PEI Government website has more information on accessing the HIV drug program.
Services for harm reduction, sexual health, other STBBI testing, community-based organizations or peer navigation are the same as those listed in the “If your HIV self-test results are negative” section above.
If your HIV self-test results are 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 kit, and pay close attention to the instructions for use to ensure that the test procedure is conducted correctly;
- consider connecting with an I’m Ready, Talk peer navigator who can guide you through the testing procedure;
- reach out to your family doctor, nurse practitioner, or a healthcare professional at the Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services for information on HIV testing options; and
- you can also visit HIV 411 to find HIV testing locations near you.
Sexual health and other STI services in PEI
Regular testing is an important part of maintaining our sexual health. Regarding Sexual Health and STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing in PEI:
- Sexual and reproductive health services, including STBBI (sexually transmitted and bloodborne infection) testing and after hour clinics (no appointments or referrals needed), can be accessed through the Women’s Wellness Program & Sexual Health Services, for Island residents of all genders, sexual orientations and ages, at 1-844-365-8258 (toll free).
- The PEI Government website has more information on after-hours clinics and on STBBI testing.
- Visit HIV411.ca to find a local AIDS Service Organization (ASO).
About harm reduction services in PEI
The Needle Exchange Program is available in communities across the province to prevent the transmission of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV through sharing equipment to inject drugs. The program is a harm reduction initiative and offers services such as:
- needle exchange with safe needle disposal;
- immunization counseling and immunization;
- vein/wound care education;
- sexual health counselling;
- health teaching to support optimal health;
- referrals to other care providers;
- Naloxone kits for people who are at risk of opioid related overdoses; and
- detox information.
PEERS Alliance supports those living with and at risk for HIV, Hep C and all sexually transmitted infections in PEI by offering a variety of programs and services targeted to diverse communities. PEERS Alliance serves people of all genders and sexual orientations. They support those who use drugs in developing strategies to reduce the risk of negative health outcomes. Their programming strives to address the underlying issues affecting the health and welfare of their communities by countering stigma and creating environments where all are welcome.