Question: There is a chance that I have an STI; is it the end of the world? What do I do now?

Answer: In short, the best thing you can do right now is get STI screening done. This can be done at the UPEI Student Health Centre.

I understand that you may feel embarrassed or shy but it is so important for you to go get checked. The doctors who do the testing at the Student Health Centre are professionals; the nurse and doctors are there to help you. Even though it may be difficult, you must get STI screening.

STI testing is pretty simple. For females it is done by a urine sample, vaginal swab and/or blood work. Testing for males typically involves a urine sample and/or blood work. The types of test depend on what you are being tested for. You should speak to your doctor about the types of STIs you want to be tested for, and you will be informed of the method of testing.

It is also important for you to inform your partner(s) of your possible STI, as to prevent potential spread. It would be best to abstain from sexual activity until the STI screening results are back. If this is cannot be done, it is extremely important to use a condom (male or female) during sex (vaginal, anal, or oral). You should always use protection to prevent STIs and to hault their spread. Some STIs, such as HPV or herpes, are actually spread skin-to-skin as well as having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral). There is a vaccine for HPV available, and you can get it at the UPEI Student Health Centre. The HPV vaccine also helps to prevent cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is actually recommended for guys, too. Call the UPEI Student Health Centre to ask for more information on the HPV vaccine today.

Overall, a large problem with STIs is that many of them do not have symptoms, which makes them difficult to detect without the proper STI testing done by a health care provider. The best thing to do if you think there is a chance you might have one is to go get screened at the UPEI Student Health Centre. You can email healthcentre@upei.ca or call (902) 566-0616 to ask about setting up an appointment. The nurse is in the office Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Doctor Reid is in the office on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, and Dr. Ashby is in the office some Tuesday mornings.