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Establishing A Testing Site

All organizations seeking to become provincial HIV point of care (POC) testing sites must apply to the Ministry of Health to participate in the program.

HIV testing is a controlled act in Ontario, in accordance with Ontario’s 1991 Regulated Health Professionals Act. Under this legislation, any site doing HIV testing must either have the authority to do testing (e.g., physicians, nurse practitioners), or be doing so under the authority of a Medical Directive given by a regulated health professional (e.g., physicians, nurse practitioners). All Ministry-approved POC testing sites, must have identified a regulated health professional willing to deliver POC testing themselves, or take responsibility for over-seeing testing at your site by establishing a Medical Directive.

Proficiency

Testing sites must also meet the POC program’s requirements for quality and competency, which are consistent with international standards for point-of-care testing. Sites are required to train all personnel performing testing and maintain a series of quality assurance procedures as laid out by the ministry for both the testing materials and maintaining testing proficiency among staff.

When an organization has confirmed their authority to deliver HIV POC testing (i.e. through a medical directive), and has been approved by the ministry to participate in the POC program, they will begin training staff and ordering supplies (See Next Steps.) Sites will be given access to the HIV POC Inventory Management portal to order testing kits and quality assurance materials. All testing staff will require training and certification. Learn more about managing a point of care testing site.

Prior to start-up, sites must notify the Sexual Health Infoline Ontario (SHILO) about their program, including start-up date, clinic(s) location and hours, and contact information.  SHILO is the province’s central access point for sexual health information, including information about HIV/AIDS.

Use this Next Steps checklist describing some of the steps involved in establishing a POC testing site.

If your organization wishes to apply to become a point of care testing site, contact the HIV and Hepatitis C Program of the Ministry of Health at [email protected].