What is HIV

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a blood-borne virus that can be properly managed if a person is aware of their HIV status and engaged in treatment and care. If left undiagnosed and/or untreated, HIV can weaken a person’s immune system and leave them open to other infections. Prevention, testing and treatment are key pillars to an effective response to HIV.

As a blood-borne virus, HIV can be transmitted through sex, sharing injection drug equipment and breastfeeding. There are effective ways of preventing its transmissions through each of these routes.

The HIV Epidemic in Ontario

While anyone can get HIV, it affects some communities more than others. Communities most affected by HIV are:

  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, including trans men,
  • People who inject drugs,
  • African, Caribbean, and Black communities – including men and women from parts of Africa and the Caribbean where HIV is endemic Ontarians from Africa and the Caribbean,
  • People who inject drugs,
  • Indigenous Peoples, and
  • At-risk women, including trans women (women who are sexual partners or drug-using partners of people with HIV).

Ontario's approach to HIV includes prevention, education, testing treatment, support services and research.

For more information on HIV, including treatment information and referral to other services, visit:

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1–866–532–3161 (Toll–free)
In Toronto, (416) 314–5518
TTY 1–800–387–5559.
In Toronto, TTY (416)327–4282
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm

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