What else might guys want to know about HIV testing?
I’m a trans guy. What should I know about HIV testing?
Trans guys who hook up with other guys ought to think about whether they may be at risk for HIV, since they’re a part of sexual networks with higher HIV prevalence. Even so, the Trans Pulse Project reported that 43% of gay, queer and bi trans guys had never been tested for HIV.
Many trans guys have reported feeling uncomfortable going to clinics or talking with doctors.
Some clinics try to be inclusive of trans and gender non-conforming people in their policies or even on their intake forms. But some doctors, nurses and staff still say inappropriate things, misgender people, make assumptions about trans guys’ bodies or what kind of sex they are having, or don’t offer the testing that they might offer other men who have sex with men.
These experiences may turn you off the idea of getting tested. Being explicit about your needs sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. You might want to give yourself a pep talk, bring a friend with you to stay with you during the test, and let the doctors know if it’s your first time. Some trans guys find it helpful to combine HIV testing with bloodwork for hormone monitoring.
There’s a lot of helpful advice for trans guys at the Check it Out Guys Campaign, which talks about pap tests for trans guys.
Should I test for STIs when I test for HIV?
Yes you should, and you probably want to! You can ask for these tests at the same time as your HIV test. This is especially important because STIs can seriously increase the chance of HIV transmission. Just know that while it is possible to get an anonymous HIV test, your STI tests will be done nominally, so they are linked to your personal information.
Check out our other STIs page if you’re having symptoms or wondering about getting tested for them. Make sure you tell your doctor what kind of sex you got into, whether you used condoms or if you or your partner are on PrEP or have an undetectable viral load, and whether you have any symptoms.
Does getting tested cost money?
HIV testing is available in Ontario as a part of healthcare. For people who have an OHIP card, they can access these tests without paying. If you do not have health insurance, you can get an anonymous HIV test in Ontario without health insurance or personal information. Find somewhere in your area to get tested at this website or by calling the Sexual Health Infoline Ontario at 1-800-668-2437.
Can HIV tests give you incorrect results?
Somebody who has HIV might not receive an HIV-positive result from a test if your body hasn’t yet produced enough of the virus or antibodies to be detected by tests available in Ontario. That’s why we recommend frequent testing in the window period after every possible HIV transmission.
HIV-positive results are typically very accurate, and so-called “false positive” results are exceptionally rare. If you are concerned about an incorrect result, speak with your doctor or counsellor doing your testing.
Can I test for HIV at home?
Home testing kits are not approved for sale in Canada, and won’t accept orders from Canada. However, it is possible for Canadians to order them online or purchase them in US pharmacies by bringing them across the border for personal use only. The home test, which uses saliva and not blood, is not as accurate as the testing available in Ontario.