STIs, a primer
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Rita Isley, the Director of Community Health and Wellness at Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, spoke with The Ontarion earlier this month to discuss STIs. According to Isley, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health sees all STIs but the most prevalent are chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Isley stated that some symptoms of these STIs include pain urination, genital discomfort, and general unwellness. Many of the symptoms of these STIs overlap with symptoms of other issues, such as urinary or yeast infections, and 80 per cent of people with STIs are asymptomatic, meaning they experience no symptoms at all.
According to Isley, these STIs are highly treatable, so it is important to get STI testing. Acknowledging the stigma around STIs and getting tested, Isley told The Ontarion that “people shouldn’t be afraid to be tested.”
If you are having unprotected sex with multiple partners or partners who you do not know their sexual health history, then you should be getting tested.
Acknowledging the stigma around STIs and getting tested, Isley told The Ontarion that “people shouldn’t be afraid to be tested.”
Isley recommended that those who are frequently sexually active or are engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners should get tested every four months.
Those who are less sexually active should get tested after each new partner. Those in monogamous relationships should discuss testing with their partner.
Testing is as easy as walking into a doctors office and asking for an STI test. Walk-in clinics, general practitioners, the campus doctors office, and public health can all do testing.
Public health is located at 160 Chancellors Way. STI tests are by appointment or by drop in from 1:30 to 3:30pm on the first and fourth Thursday of each month.
You can ask to be tested for a specific STI or have the nurses assess what you should be tested for. If you receive testing for one STI that comes back positive, then it is recommended you get tested for others, as STIs are comorbid.
Getting tested orally is also important, as oral cases are increasing.
When discussing sexual health with your partner, Isley suggested just putting your sexual health out there. There is no need to be embarrassed and STIs are treatable. STI testing can be something you and your partner do together. Isley recommends getting tested before engaging in sexual activity and to frame sexual health conversations as working to keep each other healthy.
A version of this article appeared in print in The Ontarion issue 188.2 on February 13, 2020.
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