Par Eric Charette | 06 June 2023

STBBIs and the Recommended Tests for Complete Screening!

For DépistaFest, Prelib teamed up with Club Sexu to provide up-to-date information on different STBBI screening tests.

PRELIB Article ITSS tests recommandes

Granted, sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) may not be the hottest of topics… at least not yet. However, the more we talk about them, the more we fight against their spread. In addition to prevention strategies—that is, education and barrier protection methods—screening plays a crucial role. That said, you still need to know what tests you need performed! Don’t worry, we explain all of that right here.

Remember that STBBI screening primarily concerns people who have no symptoms. That’s right! Just because it doesn’t itch down there, that doesn’t mean you’re exempt! Au contraire! However, if you do believe you have symptoms, you’ll need to have certain tests performed as part of a medical consultation.

Screening is not something that should be done only once. Since it doesn’t prevent future exposure to STBBIs and it’s possible to contract the same STBBI several times over the course of a lifetime, regular screening remains very important to avoid transmission and reduce the risk of health complications. It’s better to have fond memories of a date than it is to get surprise chlamydia from them.

Why get tested?

Several situations call for STBBI testing:

  • You want to do routine STBBI screening ????
  • You are in a stable relationship and want to stop using barrier protection methods (condoms, dental dams, gloves, etc.) ????
  • You think you were exposed to a risk even though you have no symptoms ????
  • You possibly came into contact with someone else’s blood ????

In addition, certain behaviours can expose us to a greater risk of contracting an STBBI: having a new partner, inconsistently using barrier protection methods, having more than one partner, having anonymous partners or not knowing their sexual health status, injecting or inhaling drugs, or engaging in sexual activity with someone who has an STBBI.

Your sexual practices and their possible risks will influence how often we recommend that you get tested. This is why, at Prelib, we always start with a confidential, online medical questionnaire to assess your sexual history and practices to recommend specific tests and their appropriate frequency.

Tests performed at Prelib

Prelib performs screening tests in accordance with evidence-based recommendations for the following STBBIs:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV

There are other STBBIs for which screening is not recommended, such as herpes, bacterial vaginosis, vaginitis, and trichomoniasis. Instead, we recommend that you make an appointment with a doctor for a complete assessment of your symptoms (visual examination + samples if necessary) and a potential diagnosis.

The type of sample taken during screening varies depending on the STBBI you wish to screen for. To maximize comfort, you can take the samples yourself. You may have to:

  • perform a throat or anus swab using a Q-tip to collect cells for analysis
  • produce a urine sample by urinating in a small cup

If your screening requires a blood sample, a blood draw will be carried out by a nurse on site.

What about window periods?

Window periods refer to the time lapse between possible exposure to an STBBI and its detection in a laboratory. They differ depending on the STBBI:

Chlamydia : 14 days
Gonorrhea: 7 days
Syphilis: 12 weeks
Hepatitis B: 12 weeks
Hepatitis C: 12 weeks
HIV: 8 weeks

The date of your test may not land within certain window periods and you may be asked to come back for additional testing. If in doubt, make a screening appointment as soon as possible and one of our healthcare professionals will provide you with all the information you need if you need to come back for a control test.

Finally, if you are in one of the following situations, make an appointment at a clinic for a medical consultation with a healthcare professional instead of going to Prelib.

  • You have STBBI symptoms
  • Your partner or one of your partners was diagnosed with an STBBI
  • You have been sexually assaulted (if this is the case, you can also contact the Sexual Violence Helpline at 1-888-933-9007).
  • You are pregnant
  • You are less than15 years old

If you believe that you have been potentially exposed to HIV, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) may be prescribed. It’s like the morning after pill, only for HIV. It needs to be taken as soon as possible after potential exposure to HIV—up to 72 hours—to be most effective. If you believe you have been exposed, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to begin treatment. You can go to a hospital emergency room or to a clinic that specializes in sexual health. A pharmacist can also prescribe a three-day course for you to take while you wait for your consultation.

Ready to go get tested? All you need to do is make an appointment by creating your MyPrelib account.

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