Getting tested for STIs can be easy and convenient! People can get tested by their family doctor; at an STI, sexual health, or teen clinic; or at a walk-in clinic. Keep scrolling down for some local resources we recommend. You can ask your doctor for the following tests, based on the types of sex that you have had:
If someone has signs or symptoms, they may need additional tests such as a vaginal or urethral swab. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about your sexual activities and any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing to make sure you get the right tests for you.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that everyone who is sexually active gets tested for STIs at least once every 12 months or before having sex with a new partner. People who have multiple partners, anonymous partners, or have partners with an opposite or unknown STI status are recommended to get tested every 3-6 months.
Most people don’t! That’s exactly why we suggest people get tested frequently to find out. Over time, someone may start to notice signs or symptoms, but the tests above can help detect an STI early so that someone can get treatment and avoid any signs or symptoms.
STIs happen! If someone tests positive for an STI, this doesn’t mean they did something wrong, are dirty, or can’t have sex again. It just means that it is time to speak with a health care professional!
A person who tests positive for an STI will be contacted by the clinic or health care provider who did the tests. This starts the process of getting treatment and discussing options. A person will speak with the doctor or nurse, who will explain the treatment available and what to do next. Depending on the type of STI, the doctor or nurse may ask them for information about a person’s sexual partners so that they can be contacted. This can seem scary but is an important part of ensuring everyone can take care of their health. Your name or details are not shared with anyone who is contacted if you provide their information.
In Alberta, most STI treatment is provided free of charge. It is important to follow the nurse or doctor’s directions about how to take your treatment, including taking all the medicine as prescribed. This will ensure that the treatment does its job. For some STIs, a person will take a ‘test of cure’ after receiving treatment to ensure that the medicine worked and the infection has cleared. Some STIs are not curable, but all have treatments available.
It is important to remember that STIs are just like any other infection. Sexual activity can pass on STIs, so that’s why it is awesome to get tested regularly, talk with your partners about options for preventing STIs, and take care of your sexual health!
Please note that due to the new AHS guidelines, most clinics now require both an Alberta Health Card and photo ID to access testing services. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all clinics currently require an appointment – no drop-ins available.