Managing Sexual Health

Providers of HIV testing are encouraged to talk frankly with their clients about sexual health concerns in ways that:

  • Adapt to their needs,
  • Respect their decisions and priorities without judgement
  • Stress Consent, Confidentiality, and High quality integrated care

These are referred to as the ARCCH principles.

In primary practice, HIV and STI testing is closely aligned with overall discussion and support around sexual health. The Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections offer comprehensive standards of care including guidance on assessment, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

Sometimes a provider may encounter clients experiencing high anxiety about HIV infection with no or low HIV risk (HANLR). HANLR clients have different needs than other clients seeking HIV testing. The counselling guidelines for clients with high HIV anxiety and no/low risk (Hassle Free Clinic, Toronto) will help you focus on guiding clients toward addressing their anxiety. In all cases, proactive referrals for more intensive counselling/therapy should be made available to the client.

The risks associated with HIV infection are common to many other sexually transmitted infections. These conditions can continue to impact the health of people taking pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV. Accordingly, the Ontario PrEP website offers detailed information on testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections for these clients, which are appropriate to any at-risk client.