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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV

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.

Additional Resources

News, Research and Reports RELATED TO: Sexual Health

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Province of Ontario has Declared a Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives.  Read more.

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the provincial government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

Owner/operators of a businesses, workplaces and/or other community organizations who are unsure of how to adjust operations for COVID-19 are encouraged to visit sector specific guidance regarding provincial lockdown measures at Ontario.ca or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. If you are unable to find an answer to your questions or need further guidance, please fill out this web form.

During the provincewide shutdown, no indoor social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 5 individuals, and proper physical distancing must be maintained.

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.