Vancouver - Summer holidays like this BC Day weekend should be about relaxing and having a good time, not worrying about whether you picked up or spread a sexually-transmitted infection (STI).
STIs including chlamydia, gonorrhea and infectious syphilis, have been on the rise in BC, with 13,454 reported cases of chlamydia alone in 2014, up from 12,352 the year before.
STIs are common in both men and women, particularly young men and women. A person may have no symptoms when they have an STI, but if left undiagnosed or untreated, STIs can lead to further health complications.
You can lower your chances of STIs by:
- Using protection – use a condom every time you have sex.
- Talking with your partner – have a conversation about what works for you.
- Knowing your options - some ways of having sex have a lower chance of passing on STIs than others.
- Getting tested – if you have an STI and don’t know it, you may pass it on to others or possibly develop serious health problems yourself, if it goes untreated.
There are a number of online resources available to learn more about your sexual health. The BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) SmartSexResource offers comprehensive sexual health information and the ability to submit questions to or chat anonymously online with an STI nurse.
GetCheckedOnline is an online service that offers easy, confidential testing for STIs and HIV. Clients can visit a website to get a lab form and then go to select LifeLabs locations in Vancouver to give blood and urine samples. If all results are negative, users can view their results online. If results are positive or inconclusive, a BCCDC nurse will call to talk about treatment or retesting. This service is currently still in the pilot phase and is only available to clients of the BCCDC and Health Initiative for Men sexual health clinics and through theJustMakesSense.ca campaign.
You can also visit one of many STI clinics in BC – a comprehensive list of clinics is available on SmartSexResource.
The BC Centre for Disease Control, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides provincial and national leadership in public health through surveillance, detection, treatment, prevention and consultation services. The Centre provides both direct diagnostic and treatment services for people with diseases of public health importance and analytical and policy support to all levels of government and health authorities.
Provincial Health Services Authority
604-707-2412 or pager: 604-871-5699