An STD is a sexually transmitted infection that spreads with oral, genital, or anal sexual contact with someone infected. STIs are considered the most common infections in the world, with numbers continuing to climb in Alberta. Anyone, regardless of gender, age, or sexual orientation, can get an STI.
The most common infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, genital herpes, or genital warts.
Most STDs are easy to treat. If an STI isn’t treated, it can lead to long-lasting health issues, including:
- Problems getting pregnant or getting your partner pregnant (infertility)
- Infections within sex organs like the prostate, testicles, uterus, or fallopian tubes
- Problems having a healthy pregnancy
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What is an STD clinic?
Anyone can visit an STD clinic if they believe they could have a sexually transmitted disease or infection. The clinics will have nurses and doctors specializing in STIs. Many clinics also have on-site labs, giving you access to your STI results immediately.
Many of these clinics offer STD and HIV testing, STD treatment, care for people after sexual assault, HPV, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B vaccines, counseling and teaching, and referrals to other health services. Occasionally, these centers will also serve as a PrEP clinic in Alberta.
What happens at the clinic?
STD clinic services are available for anyone 14 years and older, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or expressions. You do not need a referral to attend STD clinics. All services are free and confidential. The clinic may offer appointment or walk-in times, depending on availability.
Ask the nurse or doctor any questions you might have. The nurse will ask you questions relating to your health and sexual history. Always answer these questions as honestly as possible as they will help ensure the best care. You don’t have to answer anything that makes you uncomfortable, but you should try to remain transparent.
Can You Get an STI with Oral or Anal Sex?
Yes. You can still get a sexually transmitted disease from oral and anal sex. Because testing the blood or urine may not find an infection within the throat or rectum, you may need additional swabs to find the STI.
Do All STIs have symptoms?
Occasionally, some people with STIs will have no symptoms at all. When there are symptoms, they may include: fluid leaking from the genitals, burning or pain while urinating, or sores around or on the genitals.
What STD testing is there?
STD testing depends on the type of infection. For a full panel, you may have to give a urine sample, blood test, and swab of the genitals to screen for all STDs. For lesions, testing or biopsies of the area may be required to diagnose the condition adequately.
Where do I find a Clinic?
All medical facilities should have access to STD panels and testing, especially if the matter relates to trauma or assault. The easiest way to find a clinic in Alberta is through Health Link at 811 or by visiting the Alberta Health Services website. Additionally, users can visit any walk-in clinic or urgent care center for testing.