Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have no visible symptoms. Lots of STIs are treatable. Although the highest rates are in young adults 15 to 24 years of age, STIs are a risk at all ages.
Whether you are having sex or thinking of having sex, you need to know how to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (OPH):
- Always use latex or polyurethane condoms or latex barriers (dams) during sex (including oral sex).
- Only use a water-based lubricant with latex condoms, as an oil-based lubricant will cause the latex to break.
- If using sex toys, use condoms and dental dams to help prevent the spread of STIs. Proper cleaning of sex toys is necessary to avoid transmission of STIs.
- Get tested once a year and before you have sex with a new partner or if you think you may have an STI.
- Inform your partner(s) if you test positive for an STI.
- Limit the amount of alcohol or drugs you use before you have sex. Alcohol or drugs can affect your decision-making and negotiating skills. This may put you at an increased risk of getting an STI.
The ONLY way to know if you have HIV or another STI is to get tested. Regular testing is an important part of sexual health. Knowing if you have an STI is the first step to keeping yourself and your partners healthy.
- By appointment: Call the clinic at 613-564-3950 or book an appointment (often available that same day) for STI and HIV testing with your family physician or nurse practitioner. If you don’t yet have a family physician at BWFHT you can register online and then book an appointment.
- BWFHT Health Promotion (UCU 203): FREE Rapid & Anonymous HIV Testing is available on Wednesdays from September to April (see our calendar). Testing is offered in partnership with Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC). Drop by UCU203 or call 613-564-3950 ext. 290 to book your appointment.
STI and HIV Testing is also available at these locations in the Ottawa Area:
STBBIs – Sexually Transmitted Blood-borne Infections Testing
- Concerned you might have an STI? You can see a physician or nurse practitioner. Book an appointment with your family health care provider.
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) – Looking for confidential and fast testing for HIV? Go to University of Ottawa Health Promotion (located at University Centre – 203) on Wednesdays from September-April for free, rapid and anonymous HIV testing. You can drop by or call to book an appointment at 613-564-3950 ext. 290.
- Looking for another place to get STI testing? The Ottawa Public Health Sexual Health Clinic offers similar services, If you live in Gatineau, you can go to Clinique Santé Sexualité du Plateau.
Are you at risk? Should you get tested? Take the test!
Looking to get a Pap test? Book an appointment with your family physician or nurse practitioner.
HPVinfo: Spread the word, not the disease. The facts on the human papillomavirus from Canada’s experts.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and the HPV vaccine
Human Papillomavirus is among the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Canada and worldwide. Many types of HPV have been identified, with some leading to cancer and others to skin lesions like ano-genital warts.
The Gardasil vaccine is available to help prevent infection with some types of HPV. It offers protection against the HPV types that are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancers.
The Gardasil vaccine is available at the ByWard Family Health Team by appointment with your family physician or nurse practitioner.
HPV Vaccination Info for Students:
If you have coverage under your parent or partner’s health plan, your HPV vaccinations are eligible for partial or full reimbursement by your insurer.
HPV vaccinations are NOT covered under the basic UHIP health plan.
Follow your doctor’s advice regarding the optimal time to get all three vaccinations and contact your insurer for more information about your insurance coverage for HPV vaccinations.
For more information on HPV and the HPV vaccines:
- Want to find resources accessible to you as a student? Check out uOttawa Health Promotion on campus. Or if you are in the Outaouais region, you can book an appointment at your local CLSC.
- SexandU: A real-life approach to the questions and issues around sex and sexuality that matter most to Canadians.
- Want to ask sexual health questions anonymously? You can live chat or call Sexual Health Ontario. There’s also an app for that. Check out My Sex Doctor.
- Looking for programs and services catered to gay, bi, transmen and other men who have sex with men in the Ottawa area? The Gay ZONE (a.k.a Gay Men’s Sexual Health Clinic) can provide screening and treatment for STIs, etc. Or check out MAX Ottawa’s health connection for guys into guys.
- Looking for service delivery catered to Trans, Two-Spirit, Intersex and Gender Diverse Communities? The Ottawa CHC Trans Health Program has culturally safe primary health, mental health and community based service.
- Want an IUD/IUC insertion? Talk to your health care provider and have them refer you to this service using the IUC referral form located on our website.
- What to expect at an IUC visit.
- It’sAPlan: Helping you make decisions about contraception.
- Book an appointment with your family physician or nurse practitioner to discuss options.
- Looking for emergency birth control? The LINK can help explain the options.
- Have concerns about your reproductive (women’s) health? Check out the services offered at our clinic.
- YourPeriod: The facts on menstruation from Canada’s experts.
- Concerned about incontinence and the muscles of your pelvic floor? Here is a list of pelvic floor physiotherapists in the Ottawa region.
- Want to track your period and ovulation cycle? There’s an App for that. Check out Clue.
- MenopauseandU: The facts on menopause from Canada’s experts.
- Are you newly pregnant and need a care provider? Our specialists can provide care during your pregnancy.
- PregnancyInfo: The facts on pregnancy and childbirth from Canada’s experts.
- The Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the Ottawa Hospital have 24/7 services available for you.
- Want to speak to someone now? Call a crisis line.
- Need a safe place to stay? Here is a list of shelters.
- Want to report a sexual assault? The Ottawa Police have a victim crisis unit to help.
- If you are a uOttawa student or staff, uOttawa Human Rights Office can help you too.
- The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre offers counselling.
- Ottawa Victims Services can connect you with resources like access to safe transportation.
- If you are looking for counselling services in French, CALACS can guide you.