By exposure category

Data source: Public Health Ontario Laboratory HIV Datamart
 

Key points

  • Go here for exposure category definitions and the hierarchy used to assign a test to a single category. HIV test data are not presented by priority population, as the HIV test requisition form prior to 2018 did not collect race/ethnicity and country of birth, both of which are required to assign tests to specific priority populations. Risk factor information was missing or indicated as “none” for over half of test requisition forms, and therefore an exposure category could not be assigned. These tests were excluded from the below data.
  • Over the past decade, the majority of male and female HIV tests each year were performed on heterosexual people reporting partners with no identified HIV risk factors.
  • Between 2007 and 2016, the percent of male tests who were men who have sex with men (MSM) increased from 17.7% to 28.6% – possibly reflecting the success of testing initiatives and campaigns prioritized to this population, as well as the release of guidelines recommending more frequent testing for this population.[1]
  • In 2016, the highest positivity rate for males was among MSM and who used injection drugs (1.9%), whereas for females it was individuals from countries identified as HIV-endemic (0.9%) or who used injection drugs (0.8%). Higher positivity rates in specific exposure categories may reflect a combination of factors, such as a higher risk of HIV infection in general and/or a higher risk of HIV infection among individuals who end up getting tested.

 

Figures

Figure 1 Percent of HIV tests by exposure category (where known), both sexes, Ontario, 2007 to 2016


Snapshot: Between 2007 and 2016, the percent of tests who were MSM increased from 8.8% to 15.6%. The majority of tests were consistently among heterosexual people reporting partners with no identified risk factors. See Table 1 below for data.


Figure 2 Percent of HIV tests by exposure category (where known), males, Ontario, 2007 to 2016


Snapshot: Between 2007 and 2016, the percent of male tests who were MSM increased from 17.7% to 28.6%. The majority of tests were consistently among heterosexual males reporting partners with no identified risk. See Table 2 below for data.


Figure 3 Percent of HIV tests by exposure category (where known), females, Ontario, 2007 to 2016


Snapshot: Between 2007 and 2016, the majority of female tests were consistently among heterosexual females reporting partners with no identified risk factors. See Table 3 below for data.


Figure 4 HIV test positivity rate by sex and exposure category (where known), Ontario, 2016


Snapshot: In 2016, the positivity rate was highest among MSM-PWID for males and people from HIV-endemic countries for females.
 

Tables

Table 1 Percent of HIV tests by exposure category, both sexes, Ontario, 2007 to 2016
Table 2 Percent of HIV tests by exposure category, males, Ontario, 2007 to 2016
Table 3 Percent of HIV tests by exposure category, females, Ontario, 2007 to 2016

Notes: Data provided by Public Health Ontario Laboratory. HIV-negative prenatal tests not included. Tests with unknown exposure category were excluded (approximately 65% each year). MSM=men who have sex with men, PWID=people who use injection drugs, PIR=partner with identified risk, NIR=partner with no identified risk. The number of tests by exposure category is available in the testing report here.

[1] AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Ontario HIV Testing Frequency Guidelines: Guidance for Counselors and Health Professionals. April 2012. Available online: http://www.catie.ca/sites/default/files/HIV-testing-frequency-guidelines.pdf