An STI is an infection you can get when you have genital, oral, or anal sexual contact with someone who is infected. STIs are some the most common infections in the world, and the rates of some STIs in Alberta are going up. Anyone—of any gender, sexual orientation, and age—can get an STI. Some examples of STIs are:
Most STIs are easy to treat. But if an STI is not treated, it can lead to health issues like:
You can go to an STI clinic if you think you have an STI or have questions about STIs. The clinics have nurses and doctors who specialize in STIs. The clinics have labs, so sometimes you can get your STI test results right away.
The clinics offer these services:
STI clinic services are for anyone who is 14 years old or older—all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
You don’t need a doctor to refer you to attend an STI Clinic. The services are free and confidential. Call your local STI Clinic for appointment or walk-in times.
The nurse will ask you questions about your health and sexual history. They ask everyone these questions to make sure people get the best care possible. You don’t have to answer anything that makes you uncomfortable. You can also ask the nurse any questions you have.
If I’m healthy, am I less likely to get an STI? You can get an STI anytime you have unprotected (no condom) sex or genital contact, even if you’re very healthy. You can also get some STIs from nonsexual contact, like sharing needles or from parent to baby during pregnancy or when the baby is born.
How can I prevent an STI?
Can I get an STI if I only have oral sex or anal sex? You can get an STI from
oral sex and
anal sex. But because testing your blood or urine might not find an infection in your throat or rectum (the inside of your anus), you may need to get a swab from these areas to find the STI.
What are the symptoms of an STI? Most people with an STI have no symptoms at all. When there are symptoms, they may include:
How often should I get tested for STIs? It’s important to get tested whenever:
If you have more than one partner or anonymous partners, it’s best to get tested every 3 to 6 months. Talk to a healthcare provider to help you decide how often you should get tested.
Will I have to tell my partner if I have an STI? Depending on the STI, your partner(s) may need to be tested or treated so that you don’t get infected again.
With some STIs in Alberta, your healthcare provider must ask you for contact information for your partner(s). This is only to make sure that everyone gets the testing and treatment they need. If you don’t want to tell your partner(s) you have an infection, a nurse will do this for you, without saying who you are.
To find an STI clinic near you, go to
www.ahs.ca/srh or call Health Link at 811.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Current as of: May 4, 2020
Author: Sexual and Reproductive Health Services, AHS
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