HIV Self Testing
HIV self testing means that a person can obtain/purchase their own test, do the test themselves and get their results right away without having to go to a clinic or doctor’s office (like a home pregnancy test). The self test is different from other HIV tests on the market for public use, such as mail-order tests which require a person to send a sample of their blood to a lab for testing.
The HIV self/home-test (INSTI HIV Self Test®) made by a Canadian company, bioLytical Laboratories was approved by Health Canada on November 3, 2020. See the announcement from bioLytical Laboratories. According to the manufacturer, the INSTI self test will be available for purchase directly from bioLytical in the coming days.
The AIDS and Hepatitis C Programs of the Ontario Ministry of Health have released a Bulletin addressing frequently asked questions about HIV self testing for health care community providers.
If self testing becomes available in Ontario, this page will be updated with additional information and resources. Please use the resources listed on the prevention and support referrals page of this website, to assist clients using the self test to find support and follow-up (confirmatory) testing, as needed. Family doctors, or HIV testing sites (public health units, community health centres) can do follow-up HIV testing and provide HIV treatment and care or linkage to treatment and care. The Sexual Health Infoline Ontario can assist in finding confirmatory testing sites.
Evidence on the use of self testing
The OHTN has produced multiple rapid responses summarizing the research evidence from other jurisdictions around the application of HIV self testing, including:
- Free HIV self-testing: Best practices, positivity rates, and associated costs (Aug 17, 2020)
- HIV self-testing in high-income settings: Acceptability, potential benefits and harms, issues related to linkage to care, interventions to increase HIV self-testing (Nov 28, 2019)
- The risk of coercion in the context of HIV self-testing (Sept 24, 2019)
- The acceptability and use of HIV self-testing among men who have sex with men in high-income countries (Feb 27, 2017
Additional OHTN rapid responses on related testing topics, are available here.