Point of Care Testing for HIV


Category: Clinical Services
Subject: Point of Care Testing for HIV
Division: Community Health and Wellness
Policy Number: CA.72.01.411
Effective Date:  October 26, 2017


Point of Care (POC) testing for HIV is performed by a POC certified nurse. A small amount of blood is obtained by using a finger prick method, and testing is done onsite. Results are available within minutes.

If the results of the POC test are negative, no further testing is required if the client is outside of the window period (three months). If the client tests within the window period, follow-up testing is recommended to the client.

If the POC test results are positive, further testing through traditional standard means (venipuncture blood draw) is required to confirm HIV status.

POC testing sensitivity is 99.6% and specificity is 99.3% respectively.

As with all HIV testing, pre and post counseling is required when providing this type of testing.


All Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) nurses working within Clinical Services who are certified to provide POC testing.


Standard HIV test – done by the public health laboratory (PHL), using a two-part test. The first test, a screening test, is very sensitive. Any sample that tests reactive on the screening test is screened a second time. If the second screen is also reactive, then the sample is tested again using a confirmatory test (the Western Blot) that rules out everything except HIV. It takes up to two weeks to receive test results.

Point-of-care (POC) HIV test – done on site at the time of testing and includes only a screening test. Results are available within a few minutes. When clients test reactive on the POC test, then standard HIV testing must be ordered from the PHL to confirm the results.


CA.72.02.400 Point of Care – Quality Assurance Program
AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health and Long‐Term Care. Policies, Procedures and Quality Assurance for Point-of-Care Testing in Ontario, November, 2007.
HIV Testing and Results
Sexually Transmitted Infections and Blood-borne Infections


Manager, Clinical Services


Director, Community Health and Wellness