Being infected with HIV is often called "living with HIV" or being "HIV positive." In Ontario, there are two ways to get tested for HIV infection: nominal testing and anonymous testing.
Nominal testing means you are tested using your own name. If your nominal test is positive for HIV, the testing laboratory will report your HIV infection, your name, date of birth, gender, and contact information to Public Health. Your local Public Health unit will contact you for counselling and support, and will refer you to HIV-related services. Public Health requires that your sexual and needle-sharing partners be notified that they may have been exposed to HIV.
Anonymous testing means you are tested without having to give your name or personal information. If your anonymous test is positive for HIV, Public Health will be informed about the positive test but will not receive your name. If your anonymous HIV test is positive, you will be referred to a doctor for treatment. Before treating your HIV, the doctor will probably require you to take a nominal HIV test. If the result of this nominal test is positive, the lab will report your name and personal information to Public Health. Even if a doctor only suspects that you have HIV, they must report your name and personal information to Public Health. See Nominal testing above to find out what happens when you are reported to Public Health.
Only an anonymous test site can test you without your name. Your doctor may offer to test you using just your initials. This is sometimes called "non-nominal" or "confidential" testing. But if this test is positive, you will still be reported to Public Health.
How can I get an anonymous test?
Anonymous tests are free. You do not need an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) number to get an anonymous test. You can call the provincial AIDS & Sexual Health Information Line about getting an anonymous HIV test. Telephone: 416-392-2437 or toll-free 1-800-668-2437 (English, French, and several other languages) http://www.toronto.ca/health/sexualhealth/aids_hotline.htm
For legal advice about HIV testing and other HIV-related legal issues, contact HALCO