Contraception, also known as birth control, is used to prevent unplanned pregnancy. There are many different birth control options available today. Take some time to find out about the choices available for you and/or your partner.
Birth control methods only work as well as the person using them. The birth control pill must be taken every day; other options include methods that are once a week (the patch), once a month (the ring), once every 3 months (the shot), or once every three to five years (the IUS).
New - For women age 24 years or younger; OHIP+ now covers many birth control options including the pill, the shot and IUS. If money has been a barrier to birth control in the past, this is a great time to rethink your sexual health goals. For more information on OHIP+ click here.
Many birth control prescriptions can be brought to anyone of the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Sexual Health Clinics and purchased at a lower cost. Women under the age 25 can obtain a birth control prescription by booking an appointment at one of our Hastings Prince Edward Public Health's Sexual Health Clinics.
Condoms are available free of charge at all of our Sexual Health Clinics.
More information on birth control options can be found at www.sexandu.ca
When accidents happen, such as a condom breaking and you don't want to get pregnant, there is emergency contraception (Plan B). Plan B is the most effective when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex and declines the later they are taken; but they can be taken up to five days later. These pills are available over-the-counter at pharmacies, but less expensive at the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health's Sexual Health Clinic.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
STIs are infections that spread from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. Anyone can get a Sexually Transmitted Infection. Many people have a Sexual Transmitted Infection and don't know it. Without treatment, Sexually Transmitted Infections can cause serious health problems - even infertility. You can also spread the infection to your sexual partners. The only way to find out if you have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (or not) is to get tested.
STI testing is available at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health's Sexual Health Clinic. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing is available by drop-in during clinic hours. If you are coming to the sexual health clinic for testing, do not urinate 2 hours prior.
For more information about STIs visit www.sexandu.ca
Blood Borne Sexually transmitted infections/HIV
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. Currently, there is no effective cure for HIV. However with proper medical care, HIV can be effectively controlled. Some groups of people are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners, their risk behaviours, and where they live.
Anyone can be infected with HIV. People can have HIV without knowing it. They may not look or feel sick for years, but can still pass the virus on to other people.
Today, there are more options to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV. Consistently using condoms, taking medication to help decrease the chance of acquiring HIV and knowing your HIV status are all effective strategies to reduce risk.
In conjunction with local health care providers, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) works to support HIV prevention by offering free condoms at all of our offices, and providing the opportunity for people to receive HIV testing and counselling at all of our sexual health clinics. HIV rapid tests are available at our Belleville sexual health clinics for eligible clients.
In addition to other prevention strategies, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective HIV prevention strategy that is now available and being used in Canada. Health Canada has approved the use of oral PrEP to help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV, in combination with safer sex practices. To find out if PrEP is right for you, talk with your health care provider or visit a HPEPH sexual health clinic to discuss PrEP with a public health nurse.
For more information visit
Catie - Canada's source for HIV and Hepatitis C (http://www.catie.ca/)
HARS - HIV AIDS Regional Services (http://hars.ca/)
Blood Borne Infections – Coming soon!
For more information on any of these topics, please contact:
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health at 613-966-5500; TTY 711
- Sexual Health Ontario www.sexualhealthontario.ca - also provides a live e-chat service
- Sex & U www.sexandu.ca
- Open Line Open Mind www.openlineopenmind.com/ 310-OPEN - Call 613-310-6736 for free, confidential service to get information, support and referral to all mental health and addictions services in Hastings & Prionce Edward Counties in Ontario, Canada.