Be Safe.

Even just for peace of mind, getting tested is an incredibly good thing to do.

Knowing when to get tested is key. While regular testing is advised, there are times when you should take extra steps to ensure your safety and the safety of those you have sex with.

Many STIs have no symptoms, so getting tested is the only way for you to know for sure if you have an STI. Knowing when to get tested is key. While regular testing is advised, there are times when you should take extra steps to ensure your safety, and the safety of those you have sex with.

When should I get tested?

  • You have a new sexual partner
  • You or your partners have other sexual partners and it’s been 3 to 6 months since your last test.
  • Symptoms are showing up
  • You had sex with someone with an STI
  • You had sex without a condom, or the condom broke

How often should I get tested?

  • If you’re having sex with new partners or your partners have other sexual partners, consider getting tested every 3 to 6 months.

What do I bring to my appointment?

Call ahead if you have questions about what to bring to your appointment, but usual essentials include the following:

  • A form of ID (driver’s license, passport)
  • Your health care card
  • If you do not have a health plan, call ahead to inquire about costs
  • Free STI clinics do exist. Click here to find one nearby.

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What will I be asked?

  • Your name and contact details (this will all be kept confidential)
  • Sexual history:
    • When you last had sex
    • Whether you had unprotected sex
    • What symptoms, if any, you are experiencing
    • Why you think you may have an infection

It’s important to be as honest as possible. Always speak up and ask questions if you’re unsure about anything.

What do the tests involve?

Testing for STIs can involve urine sample, blood tests, genital exams and sometimes swabs. Some tests are done in a clinic, but you may also be sent to a lab. Your doctor or nurse will explain which tests you need. You can refuse any tests you don’t want, but the ones being recommended to you are in your best interest. Always ask questions if you are unsure.

Types of STI tests and exams

Pelvic Exam

Looks at the vulva, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and rectum. It is a two part exam which includes the following:

Speculum Exam

A speculum is placed into the vagina and gently opened. Swabs are then taken from the vagina and cervix and are sent to a lab for testing.

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Bimanual Exam

Used to check the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Your doctor or nurse will place one or two gloved and lubricated fingers into the vagina, and will gently press on your lower abdomen with the other hand. You’ll experience a sensation of pressure, but it shouldn’t be painful.

Swab Tests

Swab tests are performed with a sterile q-tip, which is then sent to the lab for testing.

Vaginal and Cervical Swab

Done if you have had vaginal sex, or have observed changes such as an irregular amount of fluid from your vagina. A Pap test may be done at this time.

Urethral (penis)

This one is a bit uncomfortable, but it’s over quick. The sterile q-tip is extra small, and it’s done if you’ve noticed discharge from the penis or it burns when you pee or if someone you have had sex with has an STI.

swab

Anal

A swab is taken from inside the rectum if you’ve recently had anal sex(a penis in your butt) or noticed pus, pain or bleeding from the rectum.

Throat

A throat swab is completed if you’ve performed oral sex on a man (i.e. a penis has been in your mouth)or are experiencing a sore throat.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are used to determine if you have certain STIs.

blood

Urine Tests

Ahhhh the ol’ pee in a cup routine. It’s a pretty simple affair (depending on your aim), and these tests work much better if you haven’t had a pee at least 2 hours before giving the urine sample. And don’t wash your genitals or clean the area before collecting a urine sample. STI are tested using the first part of the pee that comes out.  This is known in the “STI world” as a “first catch” urine test.

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Privacy

Any information you provide to your healthcare provider is confidential, including test results. The personal information you give is only used to give the best possible care, order tests and contact you about the results. If results are positive for any reportable infections, the info is then shared with the provincial STI services program.

Only authorized individuals, i.e. health service providers, may access health information through Netcare. Before any individual is authorized to access Alberta Netcare, a series of privacy and security assessments must be completed. Authorized users must also sign an information management agreement with Alberta Health and that limits how health information in Alberta Netcare may be collected, used and disclosed. Only then are these health service providers registered as authorized users and given a login ID.

The Alberta Health Information Act (HIA) has established fines for anyone who knowingly collects, uses, or discloses health information or who gains or attempts to gain access to health information in the contravention of the HIA. Individuals who breach privacy and access rules could be subject to criminal charges, fines of up to $100 000, and disciplinary measures within their licensing or professional organizations.

In other words, the privacy of your health information including test results is protected by Alberta law!

Getting Results

The Waiting Game

It’s normal to wait between 7 to 10 days for your results to come back. Be sure to speak with your doctor or nurse about how you will receive your results.

Negative Test Results

Phewf! You don’t have an STI, but do keep in mind that each STI has its own window period (the time between coming in contact with an STI, and when it shows up on a test). If the test is taken too soon, you might be asked to come back once the window period is over.

results

Positive Test Results

Positive test results mean you have an STI and need treatment. In Alberta, positive test results for reportable STIs are shared with public health to make sure you and your partners are offered support and treatment. If you have a reportable STI, you will be asked about your partners so they can be encouraged to be tested and treated.

Reportable STIs in Alberta

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • NGU
  • MPC
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis A, B and C

Contacting my partner

The reason for letting your partner(s) know is to stop the spread of the infection. How you tell your partner(s) is up to you, but we have some helpful suggestions to move the process along.

 

You can access STI testing through the following ways:

Family Doctor/Nurse Practitioner: if you have a family doctor or nurse practitioner this might be the easiest way for you to get tested. Book an appointment with your health care provider to ask for STI testing. At a minimum ask your health care provider to test you for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

To find a family doctor, contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta:

Medicentres: are a group of family health care clinics in Edmonton and Calgary where family physicians provide health care services to individuals and families. To find the nearest Medicentre in your area go to: www.medicentres.com

 

Alberta STI Clinics and Sexual Health Centres:

Here are some other options where you may seek testing and / or treatment.

  • Your family doctor’s office
  • Medicentres / Drop in clinics
  • Primary Care Clinics
  • Family Care / Urgent Care Clinics

Call Health Link at 811 to find a treatment option near you.


NORTH ZONE


Cold Lake Primary Care Network

2nd Floor – Cold Lake Healthcare Center, 314 25th Street, Cold Lake

Walk-in Clinic Hours:

Monday: 9am–3pm & 5pm–7pm, Wed/Thurs: 5pm-7pm, Friday: 9am-12pm

Tel: 780-639-0011


Fairview Medical Clinic

10624 110th Street, Fairview

Hours: Monday-Friday

Tel: 780-332-4644


Fort McMurray STI Clinic

113 Thickwood Boulevard, Fort McMurray

Walk-in Clinic Hours (appointments may also be available):

Mon/Tues/Fri: 8:30am – 4:30pm, Wed/Thurs: 8:30am – 6:30pm

Tel: 780-791-6182


Wood Buffalo PCN – After Hours Clinic 

#301 – 108 Riverstone Ridge, Fort McMurray

Walk-in Clinic Hours:

Monday-Friday: 5:00pm-10:00pm

Saturday: 10:00am-8:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm

Tel: 780-714-2193


Fox Creek Medical Clinic

600 3rd Street, Fox Creek

Hours: Monday-Friday

Access through the back of the Hospital

Tel: 780-622-3010


Grande Prairie College and Community Health Center

Sexually Transmitted Infection and Birth Control Clinic

10620-104 Ave, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 8J8

Tel: 780-814-5800

The College and Community Health Center is located on campus and behind the main building. The Center is open to both students and the community. Please call at 8:30am to make a same day appointment.


Northreach Society

9613 98th Street, Grande Prairie

Please call for availability

Tel: 780-538-3388


Grande Prairie PCN – Afterhours Clinic

#104 – 11745 105th Street, Grande Prairie

Walk-in Clinic Hours:

Monday-Friday: 5pm-10pm

Saturday-Sunday: 10am-10pm

Tel: 780-539-9204


Grimshaw Medical Clinic

5010 54th Ave, Grimshaw

Hours: Monday-Friday

Tel: 780-332-4644


High Level Medical Clinic

11202 100th Ave, High Level

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm

Tel: 780-926-2286


High Prairie Community Health and Wellness Clinic

High Prairie Health Complex, 5101 38th Street, High Prairie

Hours: Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm

Please call for an appointment

Tel: 780-523-2868


Cottage Medical Clinic

Seton – Jasper Healthcare Center, 300 Miette Ave, Jasper

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4pm

Tel: 780-852-4885


Lac la Biche Associated Medical Clinic

10017 101st Ave, Lac la Biche

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm

Please call at 8:30am to make a same day appointment

Tel: 780-623-4421


Manning Medical Clinic

625 2nd Street NE, Manning

Hours: Monday-Friday

Tel: 780-836-2811


Aspen Mile Medical Clinic

9940 102nd Street, Peace River

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm

Tel: 780-624-0717


Slave Lake Family Care Clinic

309 6th Street NE, Slave Lake

Hours: Monday-Sunday, 9am-5pm

Both appointments and walk-ins are accepted

Tel: 780-849-4155


Central Peace Health Center

4410 50th Street, Spirit River

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-4:30pm

Tel: 780-864-3962


Living Hope Medical Clinic

5002 51st Street, St. Paul

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm; Saturday 9am-3pm

Tel: 780-645-3666


Golden Opportunity Clinic

876 Mistassiniy Road South, Wabasca

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:15am-4:30pm

Tel: 780-891-2847


Pembina Medical Clinic

10124 107th Street, Westlock

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm

Tel: 780-349-4425


Whitecourt Associate Medical Clinic

5035-51 St, Box 1076, Whitecourt, AB

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am–5pm

Tel: 780-778-2224


EDMONTON ZONE

Edmonton STI Clinic

Edmonton General Hospital, Main Floor Room 3B20

11111 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB, T5K 0L4

Tel: 780-342-2300


MSM After-hours Clinic

At Edmonton STI Clinic site for men who have sex with men

Hours: Wednesdays from 5-8pm


East Edmonton Health Centre

7910-112th Ave, Edmonton, AB T5B 0C2

Tel: 780-342-4733 (Mon & Fri 1pm-4pm only)


Steamworks Bathhouse

11745 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 3E4

Entrance in back alley, testing occurs downstairs in basement office)

Hours: Mondays 10-11:30am, Tuesdays 11am-1pm and Thursdays 2-4pm


Birth Control Centre

405 North Tower

10030 107 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 3E4

Tel: 780-735-0010


Birth Control Centre (Abbottsfield Mall)

3210 118 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta

Tel (Fridays only): 780-413-5115 and 780-735-0010 (main clinic)

Hours: Fridays 2:15-7:45 pm
Drop-in hours 2:15-7:00pm


Woodcraft Public Health Centre

Westmount Shopping Centre

13221 115 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5M 3A6

(780) 413-5720

Hours: Fridays from 900am-330pm


Dr. Steven Sayers

DX Medical Center, Trail South

10407 51 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6H 5H4

(780) 705-8400 EXT 3

Monday and Wednesday 5pm -7pm


CENTRAL ZONE

Red Deer Sexual Health Clinic

49th Street Community Health Center

4755-49 Street, Red Deer, AB T4N 1T6

Tel: 403-346-8336


CALGARY ZONE

The Alex Family (Community) Health Center

#102, 2840 2 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2A 7X9

Tel: 403-266-2622

Email: info@thealex.ca


The Alex Youth Health Center

#104, 2840 2 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2A 7X9

Tel: 403-520-6270

Email: info@thealex.ca


Calgary STI Clinic

Sheldon Chumir Health Centre

5th Floor, 1213-4th Street SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0X7

Tel: 403-955-6700


Sheldon Chumir Health Centre

Sexual and Reproductive Health – Clinical Services

5th floor, 1213 4 Street SW, Calgary, AB

Tel: 403-955-6500


CUPS Health and Education Center – Calgary

1001 – 10th avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1M4

Tel: 403-221-8780

Email: info@cupscalgary.com


Safeworks Harm Reduction Program

Various locations

Tel: 403-955-6575


Elbow River Healing Lodge

Sheldon Chumir Health Centre

7th Floor, 1213-4th St SW, Calgary, AB

Tel: 403-955-6600

STI testing for Aboriginal clients


Airdrie Teen and Young Adult Clinic

Highland Primary Care Network office

101, 217 Centre Avenue Airdrie, AB

Tel: 587-287-1727


Cochrane Teen Clinic (Located at Cochrane Primary Care Centre)

103, 100 Grande Boulevard, Cochrane, AB T4C 0S4

Tel: 403-932-2089


East Calgary Health Center

Sexual and Reproductive Health – Clinical Services

4715 8 Ave SE, Calgary, AB

Tel: 403-955-1431


High River Charles Clark Medical Centre

Sexual and Reproductive Health – Clinical Services

Room 103, 303 9 Avenue SW, High River, AB

Tel: 403-652-1654


Okotoks Health & Wellness Centre

The Sexual Health Clinic

11 Cimarron Common, Okotoks, AB

Tel: 403-995-2670


South Calgary Health Center

Sexual and Reproductive Health – Clinical Services

31 Sunpark Plaza SE, Calgary, AB T2X 3W5

Tel: 403-943-9510


Sunridge Professional Building

Sexual and Reproductive Health – Clinical Services

4th Floor, Suite 406, 2675-36th Street NE, Calgary, AB

Tel: 403-944-7666


SOUTH ZONE

Brooks Health Center

Sexual and Reproductive Health Program

440-3 Street East, Brooks, AB T1R 1B3

Monday – Friday by appointment only

Tel: 403-501-3300 or 403-501-3303


Lethbridge Professional Building

Sexual and Reproductive Health Program

300, 740-4th Ave S, Lethbridge, AB T1J 0N9

Monday – Friday by appointment only

Tel: 403-320-0110 Fax: 403-320-0118


Medicine Hat Community Health Center

Sexual and Reproductive Health Program

2948 Dunmore Road SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8E3

Monday – Friday by appointment only

Tel: 403-502-8200 or 403-502-8305

 


If you notice just one symptom, get tested.

IF LEFT UNTREATED, STIs can have lasting effects on your health and fertility.

Even without a symptom, always see your doctor or sexual health service if you think you could have been exposed to an STI.

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