There is currently an outbreak of gonorrhea in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, and local rates of syphilis and HIV are also increasing. Anyone who is having condomless sex could be at risk, and is encouraged to seek testing. If you have had unprotected sex, have a new partner, or have more than one partner, it is important to know your STI status. To know your status and protect yourself or others, get tested, even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections that spread from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. Anyone can get a Sexually Transmitted Infection, and 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 whether you have a Sexually Transmitted Infection is to get tested.
Contact your health care provider or visit a walk-in clinic to get tested for STIs. If you are experiencing symptoms, you must be seen by a health care provider for assessment. Testing is simple and confidential. For additional information, call the HPEPH Sexual Health Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 418.
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, and 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.
Along with local health care providers, Public Health works to support HIV prevention by offering free condoms at all of our offices. 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 call the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Sexual Health Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 418.
COVID-19 and Sex
Did you know that COVID-19 can be spread through close contact? Check out our new page about COVID-19 and sex to learn how you can protect yourself and your partner.