Sexually Transmitted Infections

Anyone at any age can get a sexually transmitted infection. Don’t be embarrassed about getting tested. You deserve peace of mind. There are effective treatments available if you do end up testing positive. Consider sexually transmitted infection testing as 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 lasting damage. You can ask to be tested for a sexually transmitted infection even if you don’t have any symptoms.

Know your risk

There is no simple way to determine your chances of getting a sexually transmitted infection. The following charts help estimate your risk, but not every situation is included within these tables. If you need more information, contact a public health nurse at 905-688-3817 or 1-800-263-5757.

If you have symptoms

You should get tested if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Painful 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
  • Cough
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever

Fever, cough and sore throat could also be symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. Learn about COVID-19 self-isolation, symptoms and testing.

Getting 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 to speak with a public health nurse
  • Check with your on-campus health services if you're a post-secondary student

If you're a student attending a post-secondary institution, your school website will have information on sexually transmitted infection testing and other on-campus health services:

Types of tests

All services are free and confidential.

Most tests require a urine, swab or blood sample. Results of these tests may take one to two weeks.

If you test positive for a sexually transmitted infection

Follow up may include:

  • Taking prescribed medications exactly as directed by a health care provider. Complete medications even if symptoms resolve.
  • Abstaining from sex as directed by your public health nurse. This includes protected and unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
  • Informing your partner(s). Some sexually transmitted infection require partner notification as they can cause long-term damage if left untreated. Encourage your partner(s) to get tested and treated. A public health nurse can provide assistance.

Preventing sexually transmitted infections

Use condoms and dental dams for all sexual acts (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 the St. Catharines sexual health centre. No appointment needed.

Keep up-to-date with vaccinations against hepatitis A, B and HPV.

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