Learn about the types of STI tests, what to expect, and where and how to get tested.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are very common and often people don’t have obvious symptoms once infection occurs. Getting tested ensures prompt treatment for a positive result which can prevent serious health issues from developing.
The good news is most STIs are treatable and many are curable.
What to expect
STI testing involves visiting a health care provider and/or a health clinic. In BC there are online options for STI testing. For more information go to GetChecked Online to see if this is available in your community.
Blood, urine samples and sometimes swabs may be taken for STI testing. The visit may also involve a physical examination for symptoms.
Here are the tests or assessments to check for common STIs:
- Chlamydia: Swab of the affected area or urine sample
- Gonorrhea: Swab of the affected area or urine sample
- Blood sample sent to the lab.
- Rapid testing is offered at some clinics. This involves a quick finger poke to obtain a blood sample which is used for a point of care (POC) test. Initial results are available in minutes. If the HIV POC test is positive then a confirmatory is required (blood sample collected and sent to the lab)
- Genital herpes (with symptoms): Swab of the affected area
- Syphilis: Blood test sent to the lab or swab of the affected area
- Trichomoniasis (Trich): Swab of the infected area
- HPV (genital warts): Visual exam
- HPV (cervical cancer): Swab of the affected area
A health professional can advise you about what test you should get.
Resource: Symptoms & Testing | SmartSex Resource. See “types of STI Tests and Exams that May be Done
What are reportable STIs?
In B.C., syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C are reportable STIs. This means that when lab tests for these infections are positive, results are reported to the local medical health officer (public health) to help prevent further transmission in the community. This information is stored securely and kept confidential.
Resource: Symptoms & Testing | SmartSex Resource. See “Reportable STIs”
How much does testing cost?
STI testing is free in many local public health units in B.C. If you have a Personal Health Number (B.C. care card), you can go to any doctor or clinic for free testing coverage. Find a clinic.
How do I get my results?
You can expect to get your results in up to 10 days. The length of time depends on your location in B.C. and the type of tests. Ask your testing provider to explain how you can obtain STI testing results.
Get tested for an STI at one of our free confidential sexual health clinics.
Resources for accessing STI testing:
- Visit the SmartSex Resource Clinic Locator to find a specialized clinic near you.
- Get tested through your regular health care provider, a walk-in clinic or Urgent and Primary Care Centre.
- A sexual health clinic at your local public health unit.
- Youth clinic (under 21 years of age).
- Health Initiatives for Men Clinic
- GetChecked Online