Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are among the most widespread infections in the world and affect both men and women. Two-thirds of all STIs occur in people younger than 25 years old. In Canada, reported rates of some STIs have increased significantly among middle-aged adults (40-59 years) over the past decade.
What are some Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections?
How do you get an STI?
Exposure to an STI can occur any time you and a partner have sexual contact that involves the genitals, mouth (oral) or rectum (anal). Exposure is more likely if you have more than one sex partner and if you don’t use condoms.
Some STIs can be passed by non-sexual contact like sharing needles.
What’s the big deal?
Women: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a serious infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes, can result from a sexually transmitted infection. PID scar tissue can lead to infertility or issues with pregnancy, sores or pain that won’t go away.
Men: There is a risk of penis infection and inflammation.
Where can I get tested?
Street Connections has an interactive map listing testing facilities across Manitoba.
Nine Circles Community Health Centre is a safe, non-judgmental and confidential STI/HIV testing and treatment centre in Winnipeg.
What can I expect when getting tested?
Women: a urine sample and/or a swab from the cervix for chlamydia and gonorrhea and a swab from the vaginal wall for yeast, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis. A pap smear may also be included in the exam. Blood tests are done for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis.
Men: a urine sample or a swab inside the penis for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Blood tests are done for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis.
Is there treatment?
There is treatment for some STIs but not all of them. If you’re treated and get better, you are not protected from getting an STI again in the future.
If you do have an infection, treatment can be started on the same day. Treatments for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are provided free of charge. Over-the-counter medications may be suggested for some conditions. Prescriptions for treatment of initial herpes outbreaks may be available, and hepatitis vaccination may be offered to clients at risk.
HIV testing (by name or coded number) and other STI testing is available at ALL physician clinics, community clinics and hospitals in Manitoba. All services are confidential and free. For more information, visit HIV Testing | Health | Province of Manitoba (gov.mb.ca)
- Preventing a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is easier than treating an infection once it occurs.
- Practise safer sex. Condom use reduces the risk of the transmission of STIs.
- Avoid sexual contact or activity if you have symptoms of an STI or are being treated for an STI.
- Avoid sexual contact or activity with anyone who has symptoms of an STI or who may have been exposed to an STI.
- Limit your sexual partners and know that your risk increases if you have a number of sex partners at the same time.
- Sexuality Education Resource Centre of Manitoba
- Rainbow Resource Centre – serving Manitoba’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two spirit and queer+ communities
- Sex Friendly Manitoba – Your Questions about Sexually Transmitted Infections, Answered! (ninecircles.ca)– interactive online up-to-date information about sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections