HIV and Hepatitis C
Anonymous HIV Testing
The Options Clinic provides you with exactly that – options. We provide testing and social support that is:
Anonymous – no name and no health card. All that is linked to you is your year of birth and a six digit testing number. We are one of 50 anonymous testing services in Ontario, but the only one in London, operating multiple testing sites across the city.
Free – there is no charge to book an appointment for testing
Rapid – Many people getting tested will receive a rapid test that provides 99.97% accurate results in 20 minutes. Others receive a traditional blood-draw test and get their results within a week. Right now, those who qualify for a rapid test include: men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, high risk women, Black, African and Caribbean Canadians, and Aboriginal peoples.
Judgment free, hassle free – getting tested is respectable and responsible. Less than 1% of tests are positive, but it’s important to be proactive about your health and to know your HIV status. If a test is positive, we provide you with the resources you need, ensuring you have control of your health care moving forward.
Two of our team members talk about the importance of getting tested in this 3 minute video:
Typically, a session lasts 30 minutes and includes pre and post test risk assessment or counseling if requested. Testing is ideally performed 12 weeks following potential exposure to the HIV virus, but can be done as early as 5 weeks. Options Clinic staff provide information on future care options and available services and supports to those who access our services. We will also try to help HIV positive clients find primary care physicians and make referrals to AIDS service organizations like Regional HIV/AIDS Connection or Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (OAHAS).
Testing is done by appointment only, but our hours of operation are flexible and include evenings:
Regular clinic hours (659 Dundas St.):
- Mon, Tue, Fri 9-5
- Wed 9-9
- Thurs 10:30 – 5
Please call or drop-in to discuss your needs, or to make an appointment (519) 673-4427
While Options Clinic staff do not provide personal health care advice or information by email, you can email Ted Town (email@example.com) for information about the service provided by the Options Clinic.
Please note: We do not subscribe to Caller ID or Call Display and have no other service that allows us to track where you are calling from.
Want to see a rapid test before coming in? Watch this Options Clinic Interview on Rogers TV (click here), or watch Dot Jones of Glee getting her rapid test to learn how easy it really is!
The Options Clinic offers HIV testing at a number of locations around the city:
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection #30 – 186 King Street (519) 434-1601 Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-4 p.m. (drop in) *please note the tests at RHAC are blood drawn, not rapid tests
Central Spa (Bathhouse) – MSM only (men who have sex with men) 728 York Street (519) 438-2625 Wednesdays 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. / Thursdays 6 – 9 p.m. / Fridays 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (drop in)
We want to provide you with as much information as possible so you can make informed decision about how you want to be tested. In Ontario, there are three types of HIV testing available:
- Anonymous – the name or identity of the person being tested is not requested, recorded or reported. The test is ordered using a code known only to the person being tested.
- Non-nominal – the practitioner ordering the test knows the name or identity of the person being tested, but orders the test using a code. If the test is positive, the laboratory is required to report the result to the local medical officer of health.
- Nominal testing – the practitioner orders the test using the person’s name. If the test is positive, the laboratory is required to report the result to the local medical officer of health.
You may also find the following resources helpful:
The Body: http://www.thebody.com/
Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy (OAHAS): http://oahas.org/
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC): http://www.hivaidsconnection.ca/
Ontario Ministry of Health: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/hivaids/hiv_testing.aspx
Hepatitis C Care Team
The Regional HIV/AIDS Connection and the London InterCommunity Health Centre are partnering to provide hepatitis C care. This program is for individuals who are at risk for living with Hepatitis C at all stages of the disease.
We are here to meet the needs of:
- persons at high risk for Hepatitis C infection due to drug use
- persons who have been newly diagnosed and face barriers to accessing mainstream healthcare
- high needs HCV positive persons who have complex addiction and/or social issues
The Hepatitis C Care Team works in partnership with other health and social service providers to ensure clients are supported in all aspects of life – physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Our core team consists of:
- an Outreach Worker
- a Peer Support Worker
- a Social Worker
- a Nurse, and
- a Nurse Practitioner
The Outreach Worker and Peer Support Worker are based at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (#30 – 186 King Street). The Social Worker, Nurse, and Nurse Practitioner have offices at the Health Centre (659 Dundas Street).
We know that for you to be well, you need more than health care. That is why we are partnering with other community organizations from across the city. These other organizations provide additional services to support our team. Examples are addiction services, housing agencies, social services, and specialized health care.
How it Works
There are four major parts to the work we do. All of these parts work together closely so we can provide the best possible care for our clients.
- Screening/Diagnosis: the first step involves a “risk assessment” and having a blood test to check for exposure to the hepatitis C virus. If this test is positive, it means you have been exposed to the virus, and you will need a second blood test (i.e. PCR test) to determine if the virus is still present in your blood. These tests can determine how your liver is functioning.
Please call for the days, times, and locations where blood tests can be completed.
- Outreach/Peer Support: the main focus of this component is to connect with clients in the community and to build trusting relationships. Our Outreach Worker and Peer Support Worker provide support, advocacy, and education about hepatitis C, facilitate access to other health and social service, and are available to help clients book and get to appointments.
- Support: living with hepatitis C is often associated with complex mental health and social issues. The Social Worker provides psychosocial support and service coordination to address the social determinants of health and to decrease barriers to accessing treatment. She also helps clients through the emotional ups and downs that can happen during treatment.
- Care and Treatment: our Nurse and Nurse Practitioner, supported by Health Centre physicians, can provide hepatitis C treatment, and help manage symptoms related to HCV infection. If a client is unable to receive hepatitis C treatment, we are still very committed to helping her or him to live well with hepatitis C. Please note: in order for treatment, clients must have a family doctor, which our team can help find.
How to Get Help
If you are interested in learning more about the Hepatitis C Care Team, you can contact one of our team members, or refer yourself for care, treatment and support. You do not need to be a patient of the London InterCommunity Health Centre to qualify. You can also qualify even if you already have another doctor or nurse practitioner. You can access some of our Hepatitis C Care programs or all of them – depending on your comfort level and your needs.
For general questions and to reach the Outreach and Peer Support workers call RHAC: 519-434-1601.
For questions about testing, hepatitis C care and treatment, call the Health Centre: 519-660-0874
To have your health care provider or community worker refer you to the Hepatitis C Care Team, print, complete and fax the referral form listed below to (519) 642-1532.