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Sexually Transmitted Infections

 

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection passed on by sexual intercourse or genital contact. Learn about reducing the risk and getting tested.

Reportable Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

  • A sexually transmitted infection (STI), also known as a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is an infection that is passed on by sexual intercourse or genital contact.
  • Ontario’s Health Promotion and Protection Act (HPPA) has indicated that certain sexually transmitted infections are reportable to the local/regional Medical Officer of Health.
  • “Infectious diseases that pose a risk to the community due to their virulence, prevalence or potential to inflict significant sequelae are designated “reportable” under public health legislation." (PIDAC, 2009 (external PDF)).
  • Reportable STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV (as an agent of AIDS).

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria and can affect the cervix, urethra, rectum, throat and eyes. It is spread through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex.

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free urine testing and/or swabs to test for chlamydia. Please do not urinate for 1-2 hours before testing. Free treatment for chlamydia is also available. If you have symptoms of an STI or you know your partner has an STI, you may be treated before test results are confirmed.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is caused by a bacteria and can affect the cervix, urethra, rectum, throat and eyes. It is spread through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex.

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free urine testing and/or swabs to test for gonorrhea. Please do not urinate for 1-2 hours before testing. Free treatment for gonorrhea is also available. If you have symptoms of an STI or you know your partner has an STI, you may be treated before test results are confirmed.

Syphilis

Syphilis is caused by a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex. This infection can also be spread by having contact with the bacteria contained in sores or rashes caused by syphilis infection.

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free blood testing for syphilis. Free treatment is also available.

HIV

The Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids and breast milk. This virus may be transmitted through unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex as well as sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia.

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free blood testing for HIV, you can choose to use your name for an HIV test or you can get a code number and have anonymous testing done. Rapid screen testing* is also available, this test involves taking a finger prick blood sample and results are ready within a few minutes.

*You must meet certain eligibility criteria for rapid screen testing

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus that can be transmitted through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex. This virus may also be transmitted through exposure to blood or sharing needles.

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free blood testing for Hepatitis B and free vaccinations to individuals who meet certain eligibility criteria.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that can be transmitted through sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia. It can also be transmitted with unsterilized equipment when getting a tattoo or piercing. Sometimes Hepatitis C is transmitted during unprotected sex if blood is present.

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free blood testing for Hepatitis C.

Other STIs

Hepatitis A

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free vaccinations to individuals who meet certain eligibility criteria.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV

The herpes simplex virus is transmitted through contact with herpes lesions, genital surfaces, skin, sores or fluids of someone infected with the virus. HSV can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin. Symptoms may include painful blisters on the genitals, mouth and face. There are two different types of herpes simplex viruses. HSV-1 is mainly associated with oral infections of the mouth and face and HSV-2 is mainly associated with genital infections.

Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free herpes testing for genital infections only. If you have bumps, sores or blisters present in the genital area, please contact a clinic as soon as possible to be examined by one of our Doctors or Nurse Practitioners.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV Type 1 & 2) Blood Testing

  • LifeLabs offers a blood test that provides detection and typing of HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies.
  • This test is not covered by provincial health programs and costs money.
  • This test can be ordered by a Health Care Provider.
  • The result will be reported as Type specific (positive or negative for HSV-1 or HSV-2. antibodies) and will be available within 6 weeks of collection.
  • The test result will not report the site of the infection (oral or genital).
  • This test is not available at Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics.
  • If you have further questions about HSV Type 1 & 2 testing, call LifeLabs at 1-800-663-9422 or go to the LifeLabs website (external link).

For more information about herpes, please visit:

Human Papilloma Virus

  • The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is transmitted through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex, or through skin to skin contact in the genital area. This virus is very common and has over 100 strains. HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, mouth, neck and throat and can also cause genital warts.
  • Halton Region Sexual Health Clinics offer free treatment for genital warts and free Gardasil 9 vaccination based on certain eligibility criteria. The vaccine is also available for purchase, but may require a prescription from a health care provider.
  • If you have bumps present in the genital area, please contact a clinic as soon as possible to be examined by one of our Doctors or Nurse Practitioners.
  • For more information about HPV and Gardasil, please visit:
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