Rapid HIV & STI Testing
In partnership with Alberta Health Services’ Safeworks, we are happy to offer rapid HIV and STI testing for men who have sex with men (MSM) at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre. You’ll find out your HIV test result in less than a minute!
When: Thursdays — appointments can be made at 5:30 pm & 6:00 pm. Drop-ins will be seen according to availability between 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
Where: At the Calgary Sexual Health Centre office (#304, 301 – 14th St. N.W.)
Book an Appointment
For appointments, we accept bookings starting 24 hours before an appointment. This means that bookings open on Wednesday evenings for the following evening’s appointments.
If you are unable to make an appointment you can still drop-in but we cannot guarantee that you will be seen. You may want to call 403-283-5580 (press 1) in advance to inquire about the wait time and availability.
What is an HIV test?
An HIV test requires drawing blood from a person in order to look for the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood. If the test discovers HIV antibodies in the blood then the person is HIV-positive, if the test does not discover antibodies then the person is HIV-negative. It is important to know that the body of a person infected with HIV can take some time to start producing antibodies. During this time (between 3 weeks and 3 months) a person’s HIV test may still turn up negative; this is often called the “window period”. It takes about a week to get the result from a regular lab HIV test, and a matter of minutes to get your result from a point-of-care/”rapid” test.
What is an STI test?
In addition to receiving an HIV test, men can be tested for: gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphillis, and hepatitis (A, B, C). Testing for syphillis and hepatitis involves blood being drawn, while testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia requires swabbing of the throat and rectum as well as a urine test. Like with HIV testing, it will take a week to get the results from your STI test.
Plus, if you’ve never been vaccinated for hepatitis A and B, or you need a booster, then you can get that done too – and it’s free!
How often should I get tested?
How often you get tested depends on your sexual activity. Men who have sex with men should routinely get tested for HIV and STIs every 12 months. MSM who are having anal sex without condoms with multiple and/or anonymous partners, or with someone whose HIV status is either unknown or opposite to their own should get tested more often (i.e., every 3-6 months).