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 governed by legislation in Ontario. Testing someone falls under Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act (1991), as well as the Laboratories and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act (2022). Under these pieces of legislation, physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses have the authority to perform HIV point of care testing. In other circumstances, sites must establish a Medical Directive.
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].