Prevention in Focus

Fall 2017 

Canadian HIV treatment, care and support guidelines

By Erica Lee

Guidelines developed by governments and expert groups using research evidence, the consensus of experts in the field, and practice-based evidence, support the decision making of frontline service providers. In the previous issue of Prevention in Focus we reviewed Canadian HIV testing and prevention guidelines. This article highlights Canadian national and provincial guidelines on HIV treatment, care and support.


The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada has developed several guidelines that address HIV-related considerations before, during and after pregnancy. They provide recommendations related to safer conception when one or both partners is HIV positive, HIV screening and testing during pregnancy, and the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child. Related guidance is also available from the Canadian Pediatric Society.

Canadian HIV pregnancy planning guidelines

HIV screening in pregnancy

Guidelines for the care of pregnant women living with HIV and interventions to reduce perinatal transmission: Executive Summary

Treatment guidelines

Treatment guidelines provide direction on when to start drug therapy and which drug regimens to use. Other topics that may be covered include drug therapy for different populations like treatment-experienced patients or pregnant women, monitoring tests, drug adherence, drug interactions and even the use of antiretroviral drugs for HIV prevention. Guidelines are also available for the treatment and care of HIV and hepatitis C or syphilis when a person is co-infected.

Therapeutic guidelines for antiretroviral (ARV) treatment of adult HIV infection – British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

La thérapie antirétrovirale pour les adultes infectés par le VIH : Guide pour les professionnels de la santé du Québec – Ministry of Health and Social Services of Quebec

CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network Coinfection and Concurrent Diseases Core Research Group: 2016 updated Canadian HIV/hepatitis C adult guidelines for management and treatment

La prise en charge et le traitement de la syphilis chez les adultes infectés par le virus de l’immunodéficience humaine (VIH) : Guide pour les professionnels de la santé du Québec – Ministry of Health and Social Services of Quebec

Healthcare management

Healthcare management guidelines provide recommendations on the delivery of routine healthcare for people living with HIV by physicians and other healthcare and service providers.

Primary care guidelines for the management of HIV/AIDS in British Columbia – British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. These guidelines address the testing and prevention of HIV-related conditions and the specific care of women, trans people and people who use substances, among other topics.

L'examen médical périodique de l'adulte vivant avec le virus de l'immunodéficience humaine (VIH) : Guide pour les professionnels de la santé du Québec – Ministry of Health and Social Services of Quebec. The recommendations in these guidelines cover topics such as vaccinations, sexual and reproductive health, and diagnosis of HIV-related conditions.

Caring for clients who are at risk for or living with HIV/AIDS: best practice guidelines – Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. These guidelines outline the recommended skills and practices for nurses who deliver HIV care.

Saskatchewan HIV case management guiding principles – Saskatchewan HIV Collaborative. This guide provides a standardized approach for using case management in the province to support people living with HIV through the continuum of care. It outlines the potential components of a case management program to retain and engage people in HIV care, including intake and assessment and care team composition, among other considerations.

Practice guidelines in peer health navigation for people living with HIV – These upcoming guidelines provide recommendations on the development, implementation and strengthening of peer health navigation programs that will build the capacity of people living with HIV to self-manage their care and navigate systems of care. They were developed by a national expert working group with the support of CATIE.

For more Canadian and international guidelines, check out Programming guides and tools in the Strengthening Programming section of the CATIE website, and stay tuned for a future Prevention in Focus article on Canadian hepatitis C guidelines.

About the author(s)

Erica Lee is the Information and Evaluation Specialist at CATIE. Since earning her Master of Information Studies, Erica has worked in the health library field, supporting the information needs of frontline service providers and service users. Before joining CATIE, Erica worked as the Librarian at the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT).