Programming Connection

Anonymous HIV Testing Program  

Options Clinic, London InterCommunity Health Centre
London, Ontario

Lessons Learned

  1. Provide testing in partnership. Options Clinic partners with local organizations that serve priority populations (gay men, youth, people who inject drugs, Aboriginal people) and leverages their good reputation in the community to provide testing. Forging relationships with well-respected community agencies serving priority populations and then maintaining testing clinics at those agencies has contributed to improved trust in Options Clinic.
  2. Provide testing that is convenient. For outreach testing to be effective, counsellors must see clients when and where they want to test. Having various sites allows Options Clinic to provide low-barrier service to as many priority populations in London as possible.
  3. Adapt testing to each population. Some populations are more likely to test when incentives are offered (gay men and youth, for example) and in these instances Options Clinic offers modest incentives to clients who test. Options Clinic has also adapted the way it offers testing to Aboriginal communities by organizing presentations on HIV and the rapid test for groups of clients and then offering testing privately immediately afterward.
  4. Outreach testing boosts fixed location testing. Options Clinic’s reputation for providing non-judgemental HIV prevention, testing and counselling services to at-risk communities has been cemented as a result of the outreach clinics. In the last year, work among Aboriginal communities, with people who use injection drugs and with members of the African, Caribbean and Black communities has contributed to an increased number of tests at Options Clinic’s fixed location for those populations.