Where to get STD testing in Calgary

STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are infections mainly spread through sexual activity. The activity varies depending on the condition but includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Occasionally, infections may spread through close personal contact, like kissing, petting, or from the mother to her unborn child.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bananas-on-white-surface-5187876/
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

STD testing can be done through any medical facility, from walk-in clinics, sexual health clinics, and primary care providers. Emergency rooms and urgent care facilities can also provide STD testing. 

Viruses, parasites, or bacteria cause STDs. Millions of Americans are infected with some STD every year, with half of all diagnoses occurring in teens and young adults. The most common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes, HIV, and HPV. Left untreated, specific STDs may cause severe and devastating health problems like infertility, blindness, brain damage, or death. All STDs can be treated, with some curing completely. STD testing helps with diagnosis and treatment to avoid serious complications.

After STD testing, individuals may qualify to receive a prescription for PrEP. PrEP is recommended for anyone engaging in unprotected sexual activity with new partners (especially of unknown status) or individuals who have had another STD in the previous six months. If you want to protect yourself from HIV, ask your medical professional how to get PrEP in Calgary.

Why Do I Need an STD Test?

Many STDs don’t cause symptoms, making it possible to spread or catch an infection if both individuals seem healthy. Having an STD screening test is ideal for anyone at higher risk of disease. Testing is recommended for the following people:

Sexually active women under the age of 25. Experts recommend women in this age group receive regular testing every year. Sexually active women older than this should receive testing if they have new or multiple sex partners.

• Women 21 and older. This age group should get a Pap smear to check for abnormalities in the cervix.

• Pregnant women. All pregnant women are typically tested for hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV.

• Men who have sex with men. Statistically speaking, this category has a higher risk of STDs. Men in this group shouldn’t be tested annually.

• People with HIV. Anyone HIV positive is at a higher likelihood of getting another STD. Ongoing testing is recommended.

What Happens During an STD Test?

Several types of STD tests are currently available, depending on the suspected infection.

Blood Tests

These tests are used to diagnose HIV, herpes, and syphilis. Results arrive between one to two weeks. During the test, your health care professional will take a blood sample using a small needle.

Urine Tests

The urine test is used to diagnose chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and trichomoniasis. During this test, you’ll provide a sterile sample of urine, as instructed by your provider.

Swab Tests

This test will diagnose HPV, herpes, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia. During the test, your provider will swab the site of infection. Women will have samples taken from their cervix or vagina. For men, this includes samples from the urethra or penis.

Lumbar Puncture

This test is not frequently used as an STD test but could be ordered if your provider believes you have herpes infection or advanced stage of syphilis. The provider will inject an anaesthetic into your back and will insert a thin needle between your vertebrae. A small amount of fluid is withdrawn for testing.