The course is designed as a basic introduction to a very complex topic. It is aimed at health and social service providers in Ontario with limited to no understanding of HIV, and is open to everyone.

You can go through the modules at your own pace. The course is a mixture of tutorial videos and quizzes, and incorporates stories and perspectives of people with lived experience.

Course Objectives

  • Assist workers in supporting people who are at risk of, or who are already living with HIV
  • Gain accurate information about transmission and prevention
  • Learn about HIV/AIDS, testing, treatments, and support
  • Understand the connections between mental health, substance use, stigma and discrimination
  • Talk about sex and drugs!


What you need to know, at a glance.

  • Time Commitment

    3 hours

  • Date Created

    Course created in 2016. See "Notes" for more details.

  • Course Type

    Full Course

  • Recognition

    A Certificate of Completion is available when you complete the course requirements.

  • Course Requirements

    Complete all lessons, including the lessons in “Resources.”
    Watch all videos from beginning to end.
    Receive 75% on the final quiz.

  • Intended Audience

    Health and social service providers in Ontario with limited to no understanding of HIV.


This online course was developed in 2016 by OHSUTP, the predecessor to OHRN. The core content remains up to date, and the stories are as relevant as ever. However, some statistics may be out of date, and some newer concepts, such as U=U and PrEP, are not discussed.

In addition, some language, imagery, and examples are cis-normative, and do not speak to trans and non-binary experiences and bodies. Check out our webinar series, Trans Awareness: From the Basics to the Beyond.


  • Introduction to HIV was developed by the Ontario Harm Reduction Network with people with lived experience. You will meet all the educators in the opening chapter of the course.

Course curriculum

  1. 1
    • Overview

    • Introducing the Peers

    • Quiz 1 - Introduction to HIV

  2. 2
    • What is HIV?

    • Peers Speak: CD4, Viral Load and AIDS

    • HIV Symptoms

    • Quiz 2 - What is HIV?

  3. 3
    • What Support Can We Provide?

    • Peers Speak: Treatment, Side effects, and Costs

    • Key Concepts in HIV Treatment

    • Quiz 3 - Treatment and Support

  4. 4
    • Introduction to Transmission and Prevention

    • Quiz 4 - Transmission and Prevention Knowledge Check-in

    • Transmission and Fluids

    • Internal Condoms

    • STIs and Transmission

    • Drugs and Other Routes of Transmission

    • Quiz 5 - Transmission and Prevention

  5. 5
    • Types of Tests

    • Support Through the Testing Process

    • Peers Speak: Testing and Diagnosis

  6. 6
    • Introduction to Stigma and Mental Health

    • Peers Speak: Stigma

    • Statistics on Stigma

    • Sources of Stigma

    • Peers Speak: Mental Health and Support Systems

    • Reflections on Stigma and Mental Health

    • Quiz 6 - Stigma and Mental Health

  7. 7
    • Learn More: Peers Speak

    • Peers Speak: Disclosure and Legal Issues

    • Peers Speak: Colleen’s Journey with HCV

    • Peers Speak: Substance Use and Stigma

    • Peers Speak: Harm Reduction

    • Peers Speak: Journeys to Acceptance

  8. 8
    • Conclusion

    • Quiz 7 - Final Quiz

    • Quiz Answer Explanations

    • Download and Read: Resource List

    • Feedback Survey - Introduction to HIV