Healthy Sexuality & Harm Reduction

Share your results… not your STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection)

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection that is spread from one person to another if they have any kind of sex (vaginal, anal, or oral). The STI could be from the last person you had sex with or it could be from someone else in the past. Some people have an STI for a long time without knowing it.

Finding out you have an STI...
Some people have symptoms and others do not. The only way to know for sure is to get an STI test. Getting tested is free and it is a healthy choice. If you find out that you have an STI it is common to feel surprise, confusion, anger, denial, or shock.

Today, all STIs can be either treated or cured.

Why should I share my results?
If you have an STI, someone you had sex with may also have the STI. If they have an STI and do not get treated:
• They could get sick
• They could infect others
• You could get infected again if you have sex with them

How can I prepare to share my results?
Telling someone about having an STI can be hard to do. Before you share your results learn as much as you can. Ask a health care provider:
• What is the name of the STI?
• What is the cure or treatment?
• How is the STI spread?
• How can I stop from getting or spreading it again?
• How do I to talk to someone about having an STI?
• What pamphlets do you have on the STI?
• What websites do you recommend?

Practice or write out what you want to say.

How should I share my results with someone?
Sharing your results can only happen if you feel safe. Do it when you are calm and when it is private. Share your results in the way that is right for you. Some people choose a trusted family member, friend, nurse, doctor, or a religious leader to be with them when they tell the other person.

Here are some ways to tell someone:
• In person
• Talk to them on the telephone
• Email or text message. Remember, not every email or text is private.
• Ask someone you trust to do it for you

Conversation starters:
• “I need to tell you something important.”
• “There’s something we need to talk about.”
• “I’m _______ (nervous, scared, worried), but I need to tell you something.”
• “I noticed some symptoms. I think they might be related to having sex. Have you noticed anything? I think we should go see a doctor.”

What will make it easier to share my results?
• Share what you know about the STI
• Let them talk and ask questions
• Act calm; this is new information for them
• They may be shocked, surprised or angry, but if you feel unsafe at any time you can leave

What else can I tell them?
• The name of the STI
• How the STI is spread
• Symptoms to look out for
• Why it is important to get tested and treated
• Where to get tested and treated
• Offer to go to the clinic
• Share information such as pamphlets, websites, and phone numbers

It is not safe to share my results. Is there someone else who can do this?
When you cannot tell someone you have an STI, a Public Health Nurse can do it for you. The Public Health Nurse will only do this if you have HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia.

The Public Health Nurse understands that it may not be safe to share your results with someone. They will call to tell a person to get tested for an STI and share information about sexual health. The phone call is private and they will not tell anyone your name or any information about you.

In Winnipeg you can reach a Public Health Nurse at 204-250-8504.

Answers to Common Questions

How many people get an STI?
Thousands of people in Manitoba get an STI every year. Many people will not know if they have an STI unless they get tested.

What are common STIs and can they be cured or treated?
STIs are mainly caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites (small bugs).

 

Can be cured
Can be treated (not cured)
Chlamydia
HIV / AIDS
Gonorrhea
Genital Herpes
Syphilis
Genital Warts
Trichomoniasis

 

Scabies, pubic lice (crabs), yeast infections, and Hepatitis A, B, and C can also be spread by having sex. See a health care provider about the treatment.

How do I know I have an STI?
The only way to know for sure is to get tested at a clinic. Many people do not know they have an STI because they do not have any signs or symptoms. When someone has an STI they may experience:
• Pain or itchiness in the penis, testicles, vagina or anus
• Pain or burning sensation while peeing
• Change in the fluid from the penis, vagina or anus
• Changes such as sores, blisters, or bumps on the penis, vagina or anus
• Pain during sex
• Sore throat
• Increased need to pee

Someone I had sex with has an STI, does this mean I have it too?
Getting tested is the only way to know for sure. If you had any kind of sex with someone who has an STI, you may have one too.

I have been treated for an STI. Can I get the same one again?
Yes you can.

How do I stop from getting the STI again?
Learn about safer sex and use condoms. Get tested every six months, or every time you have a new partner. You cannot tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them.

Sometimes making decisions and talking about sex can be difficult. Make the best choices you can and talk to your partner(s) about sex and STIs.

Where can I go to get tested?
An STI test is free. You can get an STI test at most clinics. There are clinics just for teens. There is also a clinic for men who have sex with men. Some clinics can arrange a free health interpreter. Tell the clinic, “I speak (your language). Please call 204-788-8585 to arrange an interpreter.”

To find out where to get an STI test:

Visit:
www.getsomecondoms.com
www.ninecircles.ca

Call the Sexual Health Information Line:
Winnipeg 204-945-2437
Toll Free 1-800-782-2437

These sites also have good information:
www.serc.mb.ca
www.sexualityandu.ca
www.publichealth.gc.ca
www.gov.mb.ca/health
www.catie.ca

Other useful services:

Health Links/ Info Santé
Winnipeg 204-788-8200
Toll Free 1-888-315-9257

Ask a Question
thefactsoflife@serc.mb.ca

Rainbow Resource Centre
Winnipeg 204-474-0212

24 Hour Crisis Line
Winnipeg 204-786-8686
Toll Free 1-888-322-3019
TTY 204-784-4097

Manitoba Suicide Line
Toll Free 1-877-435-7170

Klinic Sexual Assault
Crisis Line
Winnipeg 204-786-8631
Toll Free 1-888-292-7565
TTY 204-784-4097

Kids Help Phone Line
Toll Free 1-800-668-6868

Produced and developed by:
Sexuality Education Resource Centre, Manitoba

Funded and translated by:
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

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