Anonymous HIV Testing

GENERAL INFORMATION

Halifax Sexual Health Centre offers one of two anonymous HIV testing programs in mainland Nova Scotia. Anonymous testing and counselling is offered at the clinic by one of our nurses.

Our nurse can also test your blood for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis. This can all be done in the same appointment. Please note that the tests for hep B, hep C, and syphilis are not anonymous. They are non-nominal, which means that your blood will be sent to the lab with a code number on it, instead of your name. However, you will be required to give your correct name to our nurse.

The difference between anonymous and non-nominal testing can be confusing, so we encourage you to chat with the nurse if you have any questions.

WHAT DOES “ANONYMOUS” MEAN?

Anonymous means that you do NOT have to provide the following information:
• Name
• Address
• Phone number
• Health card number

When you call to book the appointment, you will be asked to give a first name only. You are free to give us a false first name.

We use a number system to identify your blood. Only our nurses will be able to link the number with your identity. They will not pass any of your information on to anyone else.

If you test positive for HIV, we will strongly recommend that you visit an Infectious Disease Specialist at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. However, it is your choice whether or not you want to do this. We will not pass on your information to the hospital, to Public Health, or to anyone else, unless you ask us to.

HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?

To make an appointment, call (902) 455-9656, ext. 0. You will be asked to provide a first name and a phone number, in case of clinic cancellations. You can give a fake name if you want, and you may refuse to provide a phone number.
There is no prep required for this blood test, but we do encourage you to eat something and to drink lots of water beforehand.

         DROP-IN BLOOD WORK APPOINTMENTS (First Come, First Served)
WEDNESDAYS FROM 8:30 AM TO 12:00 PM

SCHEDULED BLOOD WORK APPOINTMENTS
TUESDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, AND THURSDAYS


WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

When you come to the clinic, tell the receptionist that you are here for blood work. Your appointment will be booked for 30 minutes. The nurse will start by asking you about your health history (e.g., number of sexual partners, IV drug use, tattoos, etc.). Then they will talk to you about ways to decrease your risk for contracting HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis. They will take some blood from you and ask you to rest for a few minutes, in case you feel weak from the blood test.

If you choose to be anonymous, you will be asked to come back in a week to get your results. Results cannot be given over the phone. Please remember that we have no way to contact you because the test is anonymous. Therefore, it is very important that you return to get your results. It is also very important that you bring back your HIV code number (given to you when you had the blood test) so that the nurse can give you the correct results. If you don’t, they will have to repeat the test by taking blood again.

Our nurses are very kind and non-judgmental. They can provide you with a lot of useful information, but they are also great listeners. Please feel comfortable to share any questions or concerns you may have with them.

CAN I GET A VACCINE FOR HEPATITIS?

Yes! We offer a vaccination for hepatitis A and B. It is free at our clinic for members of higher-risk populations such as individuals who use IV drugs and men who have sex with men (MSM). If you are not a member of a higher-risk population, but would like to receive the vaccine, please contact us for more information.

There is no vaccine currently available for hepatitis C.