What you don't see can hurt you

We’ve all been hurt by things we can’t see.
Unseen dangers

Like that freshly cleaned sliding glass door you walked right into this summer (ouch!), or that mystery meat you tried on your last vacation. But, what about sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? We know that STIs are harmful, but did you know that you could be carrying a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and not even know it?

At Public Health, clients who we counsel after testing positive for an STI are often upset or disappointed that the person or persons they have been intimate with did not inform them of their STI status. What is often misunderstood is that the failure to inform happens by many because they have no signs or symptoms of an STI and aren’t aware of what they are passing on to their partner.
Patient doctor counselling

Chlamydia is an example of an STI where there are often no symptoms, and can very easily be passed on during intimate and sexual contact. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can stay in a person’s body often unnoticed for long periods of time. The bacteria can cause serious problems for both men and women including infertility in women and inflammation of the testes in men. Right now, Chlamydia is the number one most commonly diagnosed and reported bacterial STI, and infection rates continue to rise.

Some of the symptoms of Chlamydia in women include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Painful intercourse
  • Lower abdominal pain

Men can experience symptoms including:

  • Painful urination
  • Urethral itch
  • Discharge
  • Pain in the testicles

Sex is not without risk, but the risk for Chlamydia can be decreased if people use condoms from beginning to end of sexual contact. If you are sexually active, it’s important to remember to get tested regularly. And now there’s good news - Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph-Public Health is making it easier to get tested.
Got get tested

To make testing for STIs easier and less time consuming, Public Health has implemented a simple three-step process:

  1. Download a lab requisition form (UPDATE: We are unable to offer a downloadable lab requisition form at this time.  Please call us to make an appointment.)
  2. Visit a Life Labs near you
  3. Submit a urine sample

Public Health will follow up if the results are positive, but the new, easier process allows you to take control of your sexual health, no appointment necessary.

Want to learn more about the new STI testing process or download a lab requisition form to get tested? Visit our website, or call 1-800-265-7293.

Dora Eaglesham
Public Health Nurse