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A Refugee

Refugee claimants living with HIV have the same rights as all other people in Canada. A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or a natural disaster.  This can be a difficult time.  There are support services in Ontario.  To find out about these, talk to your settlement worker or contact your local AIDS service organization (ASO).  See below for details.

Refugees and all people applying to live in Canada must complete an Immigration Medical Exam (IME) that includes an HIV test. Sharing your HIV status with your lawyer may make your refugee claim stronger.  If you are comfortable with sharing, tell a lawyer about your HIV status as soon as you can. Lawyers are required by law to keep everything you say confidential. Ask them to contact the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) at 416-340-7790 or 1-888-705-8889 (toll-free in Ontario) to get detailed information about how your HIV status can be important to your refugee claim.

As a refugee, you can access health care through the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).  This program provides temporary health care benefits.  For more information about how to access this benefit, go to

To find an ASO or other HIV/AIDS programs near you, call the Ontario AIDS & 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 HIV 411 and search for an ASO using your postal code, or the name of your city or town.

To find a settlement agency near you, click here.



In Ontario, health care is confidential under the Personal Health Information Act. If you want to learn more about service providers’ privacy and confidentiality policies, do not be afraid to ask them directly.

If you do not have a lawyer and require legal advice, contact Legal Aid Ontario for assistance in over 200 languages call: 416-979-1446 or 1-800-668-8258 (toll-free). If you do not qualify for legal aid, you can find a lawyer by clicking here. People living with HIV who are new to Ontario can get free legal advice and information about immigration from the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO). To talk to a lawyer about HIV and your immigration status, contact HALCO at 416-340-7790 or 1-888-705-8889 (toll-free in Ontario)



Ontario Temporary Health Program for Refugee Claimants