Sexually Transmitted Infections


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and venereal disease (VD), are infections that are transmitted during sex. They are very common and are usually passed on during unprotected sex.

STIs include:

If you are having sex, or are thinking about becoming sexually active, it's important to learn about STIs and how to protect yourself. Some STIs can be cured and some cannot. Herpes, Hepatitis B, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are STIs that cannot be cured. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis are STIs that can be cured if treated.

How to reduce the risk of getting an STI:

  • Talk about STIs and safe sex with every partner so that you can protect one another
  • Check that you are up-to-date with vaccinations against Hepatitis and HPV
  • Get tested, along with your partner, before having sex
  • Use condoms for vaginal, anal, and oral sex

What is a "reportable" infection?  

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, health care providers and laboratories are required to report certain infections to public health. This is a confidential process.

The following sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) are reportable: 

  • Chancroid
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Syphilis

What happens if I test positive for a reportable infection?

If you have a reportable STBBI, a public health nurse will follow up to help you learn more about:

  • the infection
  • how to access treatment
  • how to prevent giving the infection to other people
  • informing partners who may have been exposed and help determine which partners to inform 

How will my partners be notified that they might have been exposed?

There are a few different ways that partners can be informed:

  1. If you feel comfortable, you can tell your partner(s) yourself. The nurse can help guide you on what to say and where to direct them for testing/treatment.
  2. A nurse can contact them on your behalf. This is done anonymously - your information is kept private. 
  3. A combination of these. You and the nurse will agree on a certain amount of time that you need to inform your partner(s) before the nurse reaches out to them directly.

Options 2 or 3 are preferred as the nurse can directly help your partner(s) to access testing and treatment, making it easier for them to follow through.

Benefits and Importance of Partner Notification, Testing and Treatment
  • Helps stop the spread of infection. Many infections have few or no symptoms. People may not realize they have an infection and can unknowingly pass it to others.
  • Lowers the chances of long-term health problems.
  • Prevents you and your partner(s) from being infected again in the future. 

If you have questions about STIs, or require a free, confidential test, contact the sexual health clinic:

Additional resources

North Bay

345 Oak Street West

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)