The Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is sharing important updates with regards to newly released HIV testing guidelines in Ontario.
The updated guidelines were developed to make providers aware of:
- recent advances in HIV testing technology (i.e., a shorter window period)
- symptoms of both acute and chronic HIV, which can be missed in routine care
- post exposure and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PEP/PREP) recommendations
- their important role in assessing risk for HIV, actively offering testing to people at risk, and reducing stigma that may keep people from being tested for HIV
HIV Testing and shortened window period
The current window period for definitively diagnosing HIV infection has been reduced from (3) three months to (6) six weeks. To confirm or rule out HIV infection in individuals who may have had a recent high-risk exposure, offer laboratory-based HIV diagnostic serology testing:
- At baseline and,
- If not on PEP: Test for HIV again at 3 weeks and 6 weeks after the high-risk exposure.
- If on PEP: Test for HIV at 3 weeks and at 6 weeks after the person completes the 28-day course of PEP
Please visit https://hivtestingontario.ca/ontario-guidelines-for-providers-offering-hiv-testing/for further information. An algorithm is included to summarize the recommendations (p. 6).
Please continue to report all cases of HIV to the Infectious Disease Department at WECHU using the HIV/AIDS Health Care Provider Reporting Form at wechu.org. Reporting forms can be faxed to 226-783-2132. For questions or concerns please contact the WECHU at 519.258-2146 ext. 1420.