Getting Tested

Don’t be ashamed about getting tested for STIs. You may have an STI and not even know you’re infected. So could your new partner. All sexually active guys and girls need to get tested if they are having sex with a new partner. STI testing in the Northwest Territories is free and confidential. You can contact your local Public Health Office in larger communities or your community Health Centre.

Get it done now

Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI. Finding out early if you have an STI like syphilis, Chlamydia and gonorrhea is very important to your long-term health and well-being. If you are sexual with a new partner, get tested.

Be open and honest

When you go for STI testing, it is important to be completely honest with your nurse or doctor. Remember, you’re in a safe and confidential environment when you get tested, so don’t be afraid to tell the truth about your number of sex partners and any unsafe sexual activity you’ve participated in. If you’re a girl, say whether you’re on some sort of prescription birth control. You should also talk about any pain or soreness you’re experiencing in your pelvic area, as well as any strange discharges, rashes, or sores. If you have any questions about sex, your health care provider is a great person to ask. They have lots of knowledge and will answer your questions in a non-judgmental way. Safer sex practices should be a part of your life.

Exam Needed

Doctors photo
The next step on STI testing is usually a physical exam. Your nurse or doctor will do a quick overall examination to look for any visible signs of infection. Special attention will be given to areas where infection is most likely to occur: genitals, eyes, mouth and nose. Tell your nurse or doctor if anal sex (oral or intercourse) is part of your sexual history. There are four types of tests used to diagnose STIs:
  1. Blood Tests involve taking a small amount of blood with a needle and sending it to a lab for analysis. Hepatitis, herpes, HIV and syphilis are all STIs that can be diagnosed by a blood test.
  2. Urine Testing is a simple and painless procedure. You’ll simply pee into a small container and give it to your health care provider or lab technician. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are STIs that can be diagnosed by a urine test.
  3. Visual Testing can be used to diagnose genital warts, pubic lice (crabs) and scabies.
  4. Swab Testing uses a cotton-tipped swab that is dipped or smeared into fluids, discharges or secretions from the cervix, urethra, rectum, throat or mouth. The swab is then sent to a lab for analysis. Swab tests are used to diagnose Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, HPV, syphilis and trichomonas.