HIV stands  for Human Immunodeficieny Virus.  It is a virus that affects and weakens your immune system, making your body more susceptible to different types of illness. While there is no cure for HIV, there is treatment that people can access to help prevent AIDS. 

AIDS  stands for Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome.  AIDS is when your immune system becomes too weak to fight off serious illnesses and may also cause damage to parts of your body. As a result, you can develop other life-threatening conditions/illness/infections.  Not everybody who has HIV has AIDS, or will get AIDS.

HIV Services at Sherbourne

HIV Testing

If you are a registered client  – through the Family Health Team, SOY, WINK, HEP C team, Infirmary, Health Bus, or Diabetes program  – you can get tested by a nurse. We have regular blood work testing that is sent to Public Health Laboratory and takes about two weeks to get results.

We also have the rapid HIV Point-of-Care testing, with results in less than two minutes. You need to book an appointment to be seen. We do not do anonymous HIV testing.

HIV Clinic

The Primary Care Teams at Sherbourne provides  a drop-in clinic on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for registered clients who are HIV positive. It was created to help increase access to primary care needs for clients living with HIV.

Primary Care

Through our Family Health Teams, a Medical Doctor and Nursing team can help you with your HIV primary care needs.

Please contact us at 416-324-4100 to get information about joining the wait list.

Community Naturopathic Clinic for People living with HIV/AIDS

The Community PHA Naturopathic clinic at Sherbourne Health Centre provides naturopathic care free of charge to people living with HIV/AIDS. To learn more about the clinic, click here.

Naturopathic Medicine incorporates a number of therapies including:

  • Botanical medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Homeopathy
  • Lifestyle counselling.

Appointments are available on Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and Wednesday 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
To make an appointment, contact the Naturopathic Coordinator at (416) 324-4164.

How can you get HIV?

HIV is present in five body fluids: blood, semen (including pre-ejaculate), vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, and breast milk.  Exposure to these body fluids into your bloodstream via non-intact skin, inflammation, puts you at risk for transmission.

Unprotected penetrative type sex – vaginally or anally – and sharing needles for injection pose a high risk for HIV transmission.   An HIV positive parent breastfeeding their newborn can pass HIV to the child this way.  HIV can also be passed on from carrying parent to fetus during pregnancy or birth without treatment.  Evidence suggests that when another infection is present, e.g. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, it makes someone more susceptible for contracting HIV.

You cannot get HIV by: 

    1. Talking with someone who has HIV.
    2. Shaking hands.
    3. Sharing meals.
    4. Hugging or kissing.
    5. Sharing toilet seats, bed sheets or towels.
    6. Taking public transit,  or swimming in public pools.
How can you protect yourself from getting HIV?

Practicing safer sex – using barrier protection correctly during penetrative sex, such as condoms or insertive condoms can prevent HIV transmission.   Avoiding sharing sex toys and using barrier protection when using them, can be a way to protect yourself.  Practicing safer sex also helps protect you from other treatable infections such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

Using your own disposable needles or other drug equipment i.e. pipes, bills, straws, cookers, etc.

Getting tested for STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections) regularly.

What do you do if you test HIV Positive?

Hassle Free Clinic has developed an informative and supportive Testing Positive brochure.