• Women/trans clinic policies

    What languages are spoken at the women/trans clinic?

    We primarily provide services in English at the women/trans clinic. However, several staff and volunteers speak additional languages. Depending on who is working when you call there may be someone who can talk to you in one of the following languages: French, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Taiwanese and Japanese.

    Do I need an Ontario health card?

    No; however, if you do have one, providing your health card number will allow us to order additional tests or refer you to a specialist if necessary.

    All of our HIV tests are anonymous and therefore we will never ask for a health card number.

    How much do you charge for your services?

    All of our services are provided for free.

    Does the clinic provide any services other than sexual and reproductive health services?

    The clinic has a variety of programs and services that deal with sexual health. We do not provide other health services that you may receive at a standard walk-in medical clinic or a hospital emergency room.

    I’ve noticed that some people seem to get seen right away while others have to wait. What’s going on?

    People are not always seen in the order they arrive for several reasons:

    • Not everyone comes to the clinic for the same reason. Some come to see a doctor, while others are booked with a counselor. Some may also be here to pick up test results.
    • Some people have a booked appointment while others are seen on a first-come-first-served drop-in basis.
    • The clinic’s medical team includes doctors and counsellors, each with different training and responsibilities. The doctors see clients for infection checks, genital wart treatments, pap smears, birth control renewal, and other gynecological concerns. The counsellors see clients for anonymous HIV testing, STI counselling, birth control options and new birth control starts, pregnancy tests and decisions counselling, etc.  To see the complete list of services, please visit our Programs & Services page.

    The clinic’s policy is to make sure everyone is seen as quickly as possible by finding the best match between the client and the clinic’s team members, even if, as sometimes happens, clients are seen in a different order than they arrive.

    Is the clinic wheelchair accessible?

    Yes. The clinic is on the second floor but we have an elevator at our accessible entrance.

    When should I call the clinic if I need to speak to a real live human being?

    To speak to a staff person, please call during the women/trans clinic hours. If you call at other times you will hear a recorded message. If you get a recorded message during open hours, it unfortunately means we are too busy to answer the phone. While we try our best to answer every call right away, our walk-in clients are always our first priority. Please call again in a few minutes.

    I want to make an appointment but your phone has been busy for ages—can I make an appointment over the internet instead?

    Sorry, we are unable to take appointments via the internet. Please try calling in the later portions of the women/trans clinic hours as our phone lines tend to be quieter by then.

    Are my test results sent to my regular doctor?

    No. Your doctor is not notified of any testing done at our clinic. Any records made as a result of your visit to the clinic are confidential. Your test results stay in your file which stays in the clinic. If you would like copies of any of your test results, we can provide them to you – please come in with a photo ID.

    Does the clinic do abortions?

    No, we do not provide abortions. However, we can provide pregnancy testing, abortion referrals, pre-abortion check-ups, post-abortion follow-up, and supportive counselling.  If you need information on where to go for an abortion, you can call us or click on our abortion link.

  • HIV testing

    I think I may have been exposed to HIV. How long should I wait before testing?

    The HIV test that the clinic uses doesn’t actually test for the presence of HIV. Instead, it tests for the presence of HIV antibodies. Antibodies are produced by your body as part of its natural defense against infection.

    In most people, the production of antibodies does not start immediately after infection. If you feel that you might have been exposed to HIV yesterday, getting a test today would not provide any information about your encounter yesterday. For the test to be meaningful, you must wait for a few weeks. The longer you wait, the more reliable the test will be. If you were infected, HIV antibodies will appear in a blood test within three months.

    Can I just drop by the clinic for an HIV test?

    No, HIV testing at the clinic is done by appointment only.

    How soon can I get an appointment for an HIV test?

    The wait for an appointment in the women/trans clinic is approximately one week.

    I’ve been to the clinic before for STI tests. Why do I have to fill out another form for an HIV test?

    Because all HIV testing done at our clinic is anonymous, HIV testing records are kept separate from your regular chart. The form you fill out for an HIV test is filed by its own serial number and is not linked in any way to your other STI test results.

    How long does the actual HIV test take?

    The rapid HIV test itself takes only a few minutes; however, all of our HIV testing appointments are booked for 30 minutes to allow time to discuss any risks you may have had and HIV transmission as part of the pre-test counselling.

    How long must I wait before I get the results of my HIV test?

    The clinic provides two kinds of HIV tests; the length of time you must wait for your results depends on which test you choose:

    • Rapid on-site testing: We take a drop of blood by pricking your finger. The test is performed on-site at the clinic while you wait. You will get your result in five to ten minutes.
    • Standard testing: We take a sample of blood from your vein and send it to an Ontario Ministry of Health lab. HIV test results are usually available after seven to 10 days. You can call the clinic to find out if your test result is available, but you must return to the clinic yourself to get the actual result. You do not need to schedule an appointment to get your results.

    To learn more about HIV testing, please take a look at the HIV antibody testing and rapid HIV testing pages.

  • STI testing (other than HIV)

    How soon can I get an appointment for STI testing other than HIV?

    All STI testing (other than for HIV) can be done by appointment or by walking in for our drop-in program. Appointments are usually booked a week or two in advance. The drop-in is first come, first served. Although we will try to see you as soon as we can, you may find that you have to wait a while before you are seen. At times when the clinic is really busy, we may not be able to see you even if you dropped in between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. We appreciate your understanding.

    How long before I get the results of my STI tests?

    Results for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis tests are usually available within seven days. Results of herpes tests usually take about 10 days or longer. Hepatitis results take two weeks. We will always attempt to contact you if you test positive for any STIs. Please remember the rule that no news is good news! However, you can always call or drop by the clinic to find out your test results.

    Can I get a blood test for herpes at the clinic?

    No. Blood tests for herpes are not reliable and the clinic does not perform them. Herpes can be diagnosed by using a swab to take a sample of fluid from sores.

  • Hepatitis B vaccination

    If you are interested in receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine please call the clinic to make an appointment.

    When can I get vaccinated?

    We can give vaccines during any of our clinic hours other than the last hour of each clinic. This means on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Please note, if we don’t have a doctor on site, we will not be able to give you a shot that day.

    How many injections are involved?

    To be properly vaccinated you must get three injections. You should return for your second shot one month after your initial vaccination. You should return for your third shot five months after your second shot.

  • Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

    What is post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)?

    Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) means treating people who may have been exposed to HIV with antiviral medication, in order to prevent infection from happening. PEP has been officially approved by many countries for use following occupational exposures, but has not yet been approved for use following unsafe sex or needle sharing. Nonetheless, many doctors in hospitals and private practice are prepared to offer treatment to patients following non-occupational risks.

    Does the clinic offer PEP?

    The clinic does not administer PEP to patients at this time and refers them to hospital emergency departments or their doctor for treatment. However, not all physicians in private practice or hospitals have been trained in counselling patients about PEP. Therefore, patients should first be counselled about the pros and cons of treatment to help them decide what course of action to take when they see a doctor. No appointment is required since patients should be counselled ASAP.

    Ideally someone would start PEP within 24 hours of an exposure.