Treatment of HIV and AIDS

Learn how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is diagnosed and treated. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

On this page

Diagnosis of HIV 

HIV can be diagnosed using a blood test. Results can take about 1 to 2 weeks depending on where you live.

HIV will not show up in a blood test immediately after you have been infected. It can take between 15 and 30 days. It depends on the type of test you get.

If you think you have HIV but it does not show up in your blood test:

  • ask your health care provider if it might be too early for the test to detect HIV
  • depending on the test given, your health care provider may ask you to repeat the test to be sure

HIV testing sites across Canada offer different services and testing options. Some sites offer:

  • anonymous testing: this means that your name or other identifying information will not be collected and only you will know the results of the test
  • rapid HIV testing: this means you will get your test result almost immediately
  • online testing: this means you will get your lab form and receive your results online

Contact your local public health department or HIV testing site to find out what services are available in your area.

When you get tested for HIV:

Treatment of HIV infection 

There is no cure for HIV.

There is treatment available to manage HIV infection. If you have HIV, you can be treated with antiretroviral drugs.

These drugs help:

  • lower the level of HIV in your body
  • slow the spread of the virus in your body
  • help your immune system fight off other infections

With timely treatment and supports, people living with HIV can:

  • allow you to manage your illness and live a longer and healthier life
  • prevent your risk of passing the virus on to others

Treatment is also available for many of the infections and diseases associated with having AIDS.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: