Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are one of many factors that can affect our sexual and reproductive health. STI rates remain an important cause of morbidity in Alberta. STIs can be spread from one person to another through any type of sexual contact including kissing, oral sex, penetrative intercourse of any kind and/or intimate skin-to-skin contact. Some common STIs include: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus (HPV).
There are a number of STIs that can have no signs or symptoms, but can still be passed to a partner. Leaving an STI untreated can lead to serious health complications, but luckily many STIs can be treated and cured. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for developing an STI – regardless of their marital status.
It is important to know how to protect yourself and others from preventable infections. Using protection such as condoms when engaging in sexual activity with a partner is highly effective in the prevention of STIs. Because some STIs can have no symptoms it is equally important to visit your family physician, walk in clinic or nearest STI clinic for regular screening and testing.
You might be thinking when is it appropriate to get tested and where is testing available in the Bow Valley and/or the surrounding area? If you are looking at getting tested or have questions or concerns about getting tested, it is important to speak with a health care provider. In general, speaking with your family physician, going to a walk-in clinic or the nearest STI clinic are the best and easiest ways to arrange free screening and testing as needed.
When to get tested:
- If you have a new partner or partners.
- If you or your partner have been previously sexually active with other people- both you and your partner should be tested before having sex together.
- If you or your partner are having sex with another partner(s)/outside partners (meaning outside of the relationship).
- If you or your partner are experiencing any STI symptoms.
- If you know your current or past partner has or had an STI.
- If the condom breaks or you have sex without one.
- If you or your partner have shared needles for drugs, tattooing or piercings.
Where to get tested:
- Your Family Physician
- Health Link 811
- Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre – Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Clinic (Calgary)
Don’t have a family physician? Try a local medical clinic, please call ahead to make an appointment:
- Banff – Alpine Medical Clinic 403- 762- 3155
- Canmore – Ridgeview Medical Centre 403- 609- 8333
- Lake Louise – Lake Louise Medical Clinic 403- 522- 2184
- Mînî Thnî – Stoney Health Services 403- 881- 3920