Prevention in Focus

Spring 2015 

The Programming Connection: Programs and resources

Anonymous HIV Testing Program

The Anonymous HIV Testing Program provides HIV prevention, testing and counselling services to at-risk populations on an outreach basis in and around the city. The program, coordinated by the London InterCommunity Health Centre’s Options Clinic, is staffed by two HIV counsellors. HIV testing and counselling services are offered in various locations across London and in the surrounding counties of Perth, Lambton, Huron, Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford. Options Clinic is one of 50 sites across Ontario that offers anonymous HIV testing.

Options Clinic leverages the long-standing relationships that other community-based organizations have with their clients to offer low-barrier HIV prevention, testing and counselling services in venues that are more comfortable and more accessible for clients than Options Clinic’s fixed site. Through its partnerships with these organizations, Options Clinic has developed its own reputation among populations at risk for HIV.

Pilot to Offer Anonymous, Rapid Point-of-care HIV Testing in Prisons

Between October 2011 and March 2012, Halton Region Health Department offered anonymous, rapid point-of-care (POC) HIV testing to inmates at Maplehurst Correctional Complex and Vanier Centre for Women, two provincial correctional facilities in Milton, Ontario. HIV testing was coupled with testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia to enhance confidentiality for inmates accessing these services in a setting where privacy may be difficult to maintain.

The pilot project demonstrated that offering anonymous, rapid HIV testing, using a POC test, to inmates in a provincial facility was not only feasible for a public health unit but also acceptable to prison healthcare providers and, critically, to inmates.

HIV Screening in Dental Clinics

Does HIV Look Like Me? International, with funding from the STOP Project, designed the program, and trained and supported three low-cost dental clinics and numerous residents from the UBC Faculty of Dentistry to routinely offer HIV screening using rapid point-of-care (POC) tests to all of their patients. Pilot dental clinics were chosen that serve the general population and communities at risk for HIV, including newcomers from endemic countries, people who experience episodic homelessness and people who live with mental health issues and addictions.

The project, which was considered a feasibility pilot to determine if testing could be offered in dental clinics, took place over eight months in 2011. Though the pilot has ended, the three sites continue to offer HIV screening to their patients as part of their regular care.