HIV services at Sherbourne
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 for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by a nurse. We have regular blood work testing that is sent to a public health laboratory and takes 1-2 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.
Primary Care for HIV Treatment and Prevention
Our Family Health Team has years of experience supporting registered clients with HIV and treating their HIV infection. We also routinely prescribe PREP and PEP for HIV prevention as part of our primary care services.
Blue Door Clinic for People without Health Insurance
Sherbourne Health is proud to partner with the community on the Blue Door Clinic – a clinic serving people with HIV who do not have adequate health insurance coverage or access to HIV medication. See https://www.bluedoorclinic.org/ for more information.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency 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 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:
- Talking with someone who has HIV
- Shaking hands
- Sharing meals
- Hugging or kissing
- Sharing toilet seats, bed sheets or towels
- Taking public transit, or swimming in public pools
Practice 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.
Medications can be used to prevent HIV infection. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is when a person takes medication to prevent HIV infection (usually daily, or for a few days around the time people plan to have sex). PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) means taking medicine to prevent HIV after a possible exposure. You can get it from a doctor or hospital within 72 hours of an exposure (like a broken condom).
Use your own disposable needles or other drug equipment i.e. pipes, bills, straws, cookers, etc. You can pick these up at Sherbourne in our STASH program, or in the harm reduction supplies cart by our front door. See our Harm Reduction page for more information.
Get tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) regularly.
If you test positive, see your health care provider. They will be able to recommend treatment and medical care appropriate for your situation.
For more information on treatment, please see the city of Toronto’s support guide.
Please contact us at 416-324-4100 to get information about registering as a client or see the Primary & Family Care page.
Community Naturopathic Clinic for People living with HIV/AIDS
The Community PHA Naturopathic clinic at Sherbourne Health 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
- Clinical nutrition
- Lifestyle counselling
Appointments are available:
Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wednesdays from 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
To make an appointment, contact the Naturopathic Coordinator at 416-498-1255 ext. 229