HIV in Ontario > Sexual Health
Your sexual health is just as important as your overall physical health. According to the World Health Organization, “sexual health is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.”
A sexually transmitted blood borne infections (STBBI) is an infection that can be passed through vaginal, oral or anal sex. Screening is a confidential, easy and quick way to find out if you have a sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection (STBBI). People who have an STBBI do not always have symptoms. They can be infected and pass the infection on without being aware of it. The only way to confirm whether or not someone has an infection is by testing for STBBIs.
Ontario has many resources to support you in maintaining your sexual health. To learn more about sexual health in Ontario, call the 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, there is help for people living with HIV who want to have a baby. With the right medication and healthcare support, most people living with HIV have healthy HIV-negative babies. If you are living with HIV and are interested in having a baby, talk to your doctor.
Prenatal HIV Testing
If you are pregnant, the doctor will recommend that you take an HIV test early in your pregnancy. This is to make sure that you get the right care and can make informed decisions about your health and the health of your baby. Prenatal HIV testing is free in Ontario. These services are confidential under the Personal Health Information Act. If you want to learn more about each provider’s privacy and confidentiality policies, feel free to ask them directly. For more information about having a baby and what people living with HIV should know about, click here.
In Ontario, breast/chest feeding is not recommended for mothers living with HIV, because breast/chest milk is one of the body fluids that carries the HIV virus. This may be a different practice than in other countries. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to get support about this. In Ontario, you can access free formula (breast/chest milk substitute) and other supports through the Teresa Group or by calling 416-596-7703. Click here for more information about transmission through breastfeeding.
Find more information on getting tested