This means you are likely living with HIV. Everything will be okay. This may be a lot to take in right now. You can continue reading or take a break and come back. The most important next step is to take care of your immediate emotional needs. This may also be a good time to reach out to someone you trust for support. Our peer navigators are available through our I’m Ready, Talk app to support you.
A healthcare provider can confirm your results and support your care
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. If you do not have a health care provider, visit the Care pathways pages on this website or HIV411.ca to find help. You can also access our I’m Ready, Talk app to make an appointment with a peer navigator.
HIV is treatable and can be made undetectable with the right treatment
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.
Undetectable means untransmittable: HIV can be transmitted by blood, semen, vaginal/front hole fluids, anal fluids and breast/chest milk, but when you are on antiretroviral treatment and the virus is undetectable, you can’t transmit HIV to your sexual partners. Being undetectable also reduces the chance of transmission to needle sharing partners, your unborn child or through breast/chestfeeding your child. Antiretroviral treatment is by prescription and can only be accessed through your healthcare provider. Note also that taking an HIV self-test cannot tell you whether your viral load has reached undetectable levels. Only a blood test through your healthcare provider can do this.
Talk to your healthcare provider about other conditions
When you see your healthcare provider, talk to them about potential other concerns that could apply to you, for example: guidance on mental health, housing or food security; screening and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections (such as syphilis or chlamydia); contraception needs; opioid substitution therapy; access to sterile needles and syringes; or sexual health counselling.
Sharing your results
Your HIV test results are confidential, but it’s important to discuss your HIV status with your partner(s) if you feel safe to do so. This can help ensure that steps are taken to prevent transmission. We also recommend encouraging your partners to get tested. There are partner/couples testing and counselling services available to help you learn more about staying safe with your partner(s).
If you test positive and are in a situation where you don’t feel safe
If you test positive and you’re concerned about possible violence or other harms from an intimate partner or family member, we suggest talking to a support provider before disclosing your results to that person. You can call the info-lines provided in the test kit package insert, visit the Care pathways pages on this website or visit HIV411.ca to find an organization that can provide counselling services and assistance in dealing with potential violence.
Support is available
There are resources available to help you with support and answering your questions. If you want to speak to someone about HIV self-test results, how to get confirmatory testing done, or to get connected to care, you can call the information lines in the HIV self-test kit package insert or visit the Care pathways pages on this website or HIV411.ca to find help. You can also access our I’m Ready, Talk app to make an appointment with a peer navigator.