Sexually Transmitted Infections
Anyone at any age can get a sexually transmitted infection. If you are sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is a normal part of your health care.
Most sexually transmitted infections have no signs or symptoms. They are easy to get and if some go untreated, they can cause serious health issues in the future.
Know your risk
If you are having sex, you are at-risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. Getting tested regularly is the best way to stay healthy and protect your partners.
Contact us to speak to a nurse about how frequently you should be tested. You can also book an appointment to come in and be tested.
To get tested, you can:
- Go to your family doctor or a walk-in clinic
- Call 905-688-3817 or 1-800-263-5757 or use our live chat to speak with a public health nurse
- Check with your on-campus health services if you are a post-secondary student
If you have symptoms
You should get tested if you have any of these symptoms:
- Bumps or sores in and around the mouth, genitals or rectum
- Abnormal discharge
- Bleeding after sex
- Pain during sex or urination
People can also get sexually transmitted infections in their throat. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
Types of tests
At the Sexual Health Centre, all services are free and confidential.
Most tests require a urine, swab or blood sample. Your nurse will ask about your sexual activities to help you decide what tests you should get. Results of these tests may take one to two weeks.
Preventing sexually transmitted infections
Condoms and dental dams for oral, vaginal and anal sex. Make sure the condom or dental dam is being used correctly before there is any contact between bodies.
Free condoms are available at all sexual health centre locations. No appointment is needed for picking up condoms.
Some sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by vaccines. These include Hepatitis A or B and HPV. You may have gotten these vaccines in school. Visit the vaccine program or call them at 905-688-8248 ext. 7425 if you would like to learn more.
HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post- Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
PrEP and PEP are medications you can take if you are at risk for contracting HIV. Consider discussing your HIV risk with your health care provider if:
- Your sexual partner(s) HIV status is unknown
- You have had a sexually transmitted infection recently
- You don't always use condoms
HIV PrEP is daily medication that helps lower the risk of contracting HIV. This medication is covered by many drug plans and dedicated PrEP clinics can often help you find coverage.
If you think HIV PrEP may be right for you and you would like to speak with a health care provider, you can:
- Visit Positive Living Niagara in partnership with Community Health Centres to get connected with a local PrEP clinic
- Call or text Darryl at 289-969-0637
- Connect to an online PrEP clinic using The Virtual Prep Clinic or Julius MD
HIV PEP prevents infection of HIV in an HIV-negative person who may have recently been exposed to the virus. This medication should be started within 72 hours of exposure.
If you are in urgent need of HIV PEP, visit an emergency department in Niagara.