If you’re on this page, you’ve decided to self-test for HIV or are thinking about it, so congratulations on taking control of your health. HIV testing is the only way to know your status and studies have shown that HIV self-testing (HIVST) is very accurate when done correctly: less than 5 out of every 1000 results could be false.
Regular HIV testing is a normal part of health care for people who are sexually active or who use injection drugs. There are also many options for HIV prevention, whether or not you test right now. Clinical evidence shows that condom use for penetrative sex (anal or vaginal/front hole), Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and avoiding sharing needles are all effective HIV prevention strategies.
Depending on where you are in your testing journey and your results when you test, there is some key information you should know at each stage. We’ve gathered this on different pages that you can navigate to with the buttons below. You can also connect with peer navigators through the I’m Ready, Talk app anytime for support before, during or after you test, and visit our Care pathways pages on this website for detailed information about services available for support and testing in each Canadian province and territory.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can help within 72 hours of exposure
If you are concerned about a recent exposure to HIV (within the last 72 hours) you can go to a hospital emergency department to ask about HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (HIV PEP), a 4-week course of medications that you can take if you are HIV negative and think you have been recently exposed. This treatment can prevent HIV infection and is more effective the earlier it is started. For PEP to be effective, a person must have high adherence to the full course of PEP drugs while taking PEP.