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HIV in Ontario > Living With HIV

Living With HIV


Living Healthy

Living with HIV can be difficult and stressful. With the right HIV medication and help from a doctor, you can stay healthy for a long time. In Ontario, there are many doctors who specialize in treating people with HIV.

Taking your HIV medications and seeing a doctor regularly are two important things you can do to live a long, healthy life. Other things you can do to take care of yourself include:

  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising a few times each week
  • Sleeping 6-8 hours each night
  • Managing your emotional, mental and spiritual health
  • Accessing social supports

If you want to speak to a counsellor, call the Ontario AIDS & Sexual Health InfoLine. They can assist you to find a confidential counsellor, an AIDS service organization (ASO) or other HIV/AIDS programs near you. For information in English and many other languages call: 416-392-2437 or 1-800-668-2437 (toll-free in Ontario), and for French call: 1-800-267-7432 (toll-free in Ontario). The InfoLine is free and anonymous.

Accessing Medications

If you are living with HIV or want to talk to someone about HIV/AIDS, you can visit an AIDS service organization (ASO) in your city or town. ASOs provide free programs and services. They are located across Ontario, and serve many different people from different countries and cultural backgrounds. ASO workers are prepared to answer your questions and will keep your information completely private and confidential.

Each ASO in Ontario offers different services based on the needs of their clients. Depending on what services you need, ASO workers will help you find another service provider in your city or town who can help.

If you want to speak to a counsellor, call the Ontario AIDS & Sexual Health InfoLine. They can assist you to find a confidential counsellor or to find an AIDS service organization (ASO) or other HIV/AIDS programs near you. For information in English and many other languages call: 416-392-2437 or 1-800-668-2437 (toll-free in Ontario), and for French call: 1-800-267-7432 (toll-free in Ontario). The InfoLine is free and anonymous.

Finding the right doctor

In Ontario, there is very high quality HIV medical care available. But, not just any doctor or nurse practitioner can provide the high quality care you need and have a right to. To find high quality HIV care contact your local AIDS service organization (ASO) or community health centre. You can also contact Health Care Connect.

In some cases, the care is provided by a person who specializes in treating infections like HIV. To access their services you need a referral from a family doctor.

Important: In Ontario, health care is confidential under the Personal Health Information Act. Doctors are required by law to maintain patient confidentiality. Do not be afraid to ask your provider questions about their privacy and confidentiality policies.

To find an ASO near you, contact the Ontario AIDS and Sexual Health InfoLine. For information in English and many other languages call: 416-392-2437 or 1-800-668-2437 (toll-free in Ontario), and for French call: 1-800-267-7432 (toll-free in Ontario). The InfoLine is free and anonymous. To find a family doctor, you can also go to Health Care Connect or call 1-800-445-1822 (toll-free).

Accessing Medications

HIV medication is not free in Ontario. Finding a program to pay for HIV medication can take some time. As a person who is new to Ontario, you may not yet qualify for health care services and insurance. If you do not have an insurance plan to cover the cost of HIV medication, you can apply for government financial support programs that can help you pay for medication.

  • For better health outcomes, getting into treatment early is recommended. People with HIV live longer, healthier lives. 
  • HIV medication today is much easier to take and has fewer side-effects.

Ask your doctor or nurse practitioner, or get help from your local community health centre, settlement agency or AIDS service organization (ASO) to find out what compassionate or financial support program you may be eligible to apply to. Your doctor, nurse practitioner or a support worker at one of these organizations can help you fill out the paperwork and apply.

To find a community health center near you, call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free).

To find a settlement agency near you, visit Settlement.Org.

To find an ASO and other HIV programs near you, contact the Ontario AIDS and Sexual Health InfoLine. For information in English and many other languages call: 416-392-2437 or 1-800-668-2437 (toll-free in Ontario), and for French call: 1-800-267-7432 (toll-free in Ontario). The InfoLine is free and anonymous.

In Ontario, you can dial 211 on your phone or visit 211 Ontario to find an ASO and other HIV/AIDS programs in your city or town. Use your location to find services near you.

You can also visit HIV411.ca and search for an ASO using your postal code, or the name of your city or town.

You may also be able to get coverage through one of the programs listed below:

Caring for the whole you

Getting settled in your new home may seem overwhelming. You may not be sure how or where to find help. If you are worried about HIV or if you are living with HIV, you can get help and services from different organizations in your city or town.

There are organizations in Ontario that can help you with:

  • Mental health and emotional wellness counselling and support
  • Financial and employment services
  • Food and day-to-day living
  • Harm reduction
  • Sexual health
  • Housing
  • Legal support and referral
  • HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing

Contact the Ontario  AIDS and Sexual Health InfoLine to speak to a counsellor who can help you find an AIDS service organization (ASO) or other HIV/AIDS programs and services in your city or town. For information in English and many other languages call: 416-392-2437 or 1-800-668-2437 (toll-free in Ontario), and for French call: 1-800-267-7432 (toll-free in Ontario). The InfoLine is free and anonymous.

In Ontario, you can dial 211 on your phone or visit 211 Ontario to find an ASO and other HIV/AIDS programs in your city or town. Use your location to find services near you.

You can also visit HIV411.ca and search for an ASO using your postal code, or the name of your city or town.

Find more information on getting tested