Testing is very important in addressing HIV. Routine testing, as a part of a person’s healthcare, can significantly reduce the number of new HIV infections in our community. The sooner a person knows their HIV status, the better their options for treatment and their ability to stay in good health.

What to Expect

HIV is detected through a blood test that looks for HIV antibodies in your body. Test results take approximately one week to process and are provided to the clinic or doctor who ordered the test.

The period of time from when you contract HIV to when antibodies appear in your blood is called the window period. During the window period, an HIV test may give a negative result even though you have been exposed to HIV. Currently, the window period is three weeks to three months; however it is important to talk to your health care provider about the window period for the type of test being used. They may recommend you repeat the test at a later date. Find testing clinics here.

Who Will Know About My Test?

Positive HIV tests are reported to the public health authorities in Alberta. Three types of tests are available:

Nominal – Test results are linked to the person by name. Full personal information, test results and any demographic information provided are reported to public health authorities.

Confidential (non-nominal) – The nurse/doctor knows the identity of the person being tested, but keeps it confidential. The name of the person testing positive is not reported to public health authorities, only the test results and any demographic information provided.

Anonymous – Safeworks and the Calgary STI clinic can provide anonymous testing by request. This means a person does not have to provide any personal information when being tested, and can use an alias (alternate name) instead.

I’m Positive, Now What?

You are not alone. Start here and find out where to turn next & what you need to know. We’re here to help. Call our support services team today at (403) 508-2500 ext. 202.

 Go to our HIV Support Services page.