HIV Viral Load testing in Ontario

In July 2017, we learned that Public Health Ontario had made a decision to compel laboratories to report detectable HIV viral load tests to public health units, beginning as early as September or by the end of 2017.

HALCO, for a number of reasons, strongly opposes the reporting of viral load tests to public health units.  We, along with others, immediately responded and we made our position clear.

In response, we learned that viral load reporting would not take place in September, that the decision is on hold for the time being, and that consultation will take place on this matter.

Later, we received a letter dated July 28, 2017, from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the “Ministry”) that indicates that the Council of Medical Officers of Health (COMOH) HIV Workgroup submitted a Public Health Approach to HIV Case Management report to the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Ministry.  This letter confirms that the “report outlines a framework for HIV case management, including the reporting of detectable HIV viral load results to public health units.”

However, in relation to the report and to viral load testing, the Ministry letter specifies:

  1. There is currently no Ministry policy direction on HIV viral load reporting, and there is no Ministry position on the COMOH report at this time.
  2. No routine HIV viral load reports have been released by Public Health Ontario (PHO) to public health units, and PHO will not be doing so in the absence of discussions with the Ministry, and considering the views of all relevant health stakeholders.
  3. Any Ministry considerations with respect to policy, legislative and programmatic considerations will be subject to meaningful community involvement and appropriate consultation.

We await a copy of report, and we remain strongly opposed to the reporting of viral load test results.

We will keep you updated on this matter.  If you are living with HIV in Ontario, please contact us for free legal advice about this or any other legal issue.


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