FAQ about getting tested

Is the service free?
We provide free and confidential STBBI testing and treatment for sexually transmitted blood borne infections (STBBIs). Low cost birth control is also provided.
Do I need an appointment?
The Youth Sexual Health Drop-In Clinics are walk-in only.  
How can I be sure the service is confidential and my information will be kept private?
You don't need to tell anyone you have visited our clinic!  All information in your file and discussions we have with you are confidential. In fact, we would need your signed consent before we share your records with your family doctor. Clinic staff cannot share your personal information with anyone unless you give permission. If a test shows you have an STBBI such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, a public health nurse will contact you.

The only other time we would tell anyone else about your visit would be if:

  • Your life is at serious risk; or
  • Another person's life is at risk

Please keep in mind we would discuss this with you first and give you all the support you need.

Can I bring friends or family with me?
Yes, you can bring anyone you trust to the appointment. We cannot guarantee a confidential appointment when another person is present during your health assessment. That person could potentially share your personal information.
Do I need an examination?
A physical exam will only occur if you agree; and have symptoms of an STBBI. 
Does the exam hurt?
No. If you have questions or concerns, please discuss with the nurse. The exam should not hurt.
Can I just come in to get condoms?
Yes! Free condoms are always available at the main clinics and youth clinics. You can also order free condoms on-line at sexitsmart.ca.
Is there an interpreting service available?
Yes, when you attend the clinic you can request the help of an interpreter. This service is available in over 170 different languages. You will be part of a three-way call in a language of your choice with an interpreter and health care provider.
How do I know if I have a sexually transmitted & blood borne infection (STBBI)?

You can have an STBBI but not have symptoms. This means the infection can be in your body without you even knowing about it. It also means you could pass on an STBBI to someone else. Being tested is the only way to know if you have an STBBI.

See a health care provider if you notice a change to your genitals (rash, itch, discharge, etc). All STBBIs can be treated and managed but not all can be cured.

We're not ready to have sex yet--what else can my partner and I do to be close?
There are many things two people can do to be intimate:
  • holding hands
  • kissing
  • touching
  • massage
  • bathing together
  • mutual masturbation
  • watching or reading erotic literature together

The list is endless, so get creative!

Pressure to have sex or not to have sex comes from all directions. Pressure can come from your partner, your friends, your family and social media. At the end of the day, it's your decision! The best way to make a decision is to look at both the benefits and consequences.

Once you've made your decision, you need to let your partner do the same. Be respectful, they may not have made the same decision as you. Forcing someone to have sex when they've said no is a crime. No means No!

Is it okay to masturbate?
Masturbating can't hurt you-it's a personal choice. Some people are comfortable with it and some people are not, and both choices are completely okay. Masturbation can help you learn about your sexuality. It can also help you express what you like to experience during sex.

How sex feels, stress relief and intimacy are a few of the reasons why someone masturbates.  It is always a good idea to wash your hands/toys/objects before and after use.

What is a Pap Test and Why Do I Need One?
The Pap test screens the cervix (opening to the uterus, located within the vagina) for changes. The Pap test can detect changes to the cells on the cervix before they become cancerous. If abnormal cells are found, they can be treated before they become cervical cancer. A trained health care provider performs the Pap test during a pelvic examination.

The Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends sexually active females have a Pap test every 3 years, starting at age 21.

Link to Video

Can I get a STBBI by having oral sex?
Yes! Oral sex with any partner can put you at risk for STBBIs. Use flavoured condoms or dental dams for safer oral sex.
Can I get a STBBI from a toilet seat?
Nope! You cannot get a STBBI from a toilet seat. The only objects that can spread STBBIs are shared sex toys. Always wash your sex toys before and after each use.
Can I get a STBBI from kissing?
Most STBBIs are not spread through kissing. Avoid kissing people with visible sores. Cold sores are a type of the Herpes virus; often spread through kissing someone who is infected.
My partners say they are "clean", should I still get STBBI get tested?

YES. You should always get tested. Many STBBIs do not produce visible symptoms and your partner may not be aware they have an STBBI. Make a date and get tested together!

What's the right way to put on a condom?

Is it okay to love or be attracted to someone of the same sex?
Absolutely, you might be confused at first and that is normal.  If you have concerns and /or would like to talk about these feelings contact:
  • Youth Services Bureau offers counseling/therapy for ages 12 to 20, 613-562-3004.
  • Family Service Ottawa for counseling/therapy for all ages on a sliding fee scale.
  • CHEO Adolescent Health Clinic 613-737-7600, extension 3664.
  • CHEO Diversity Clinic 613-737-7600, extension 3664. The Clinic's multidisciplinary team offers information, comprehensive assessment and treatment (which can include hormonal interventions). Services are provided to children, youth and their families with queSTBBIons regarding gender identity. Referrals from community providers, schools, parents and the youth themselves are welcomed.
  • Looking for a qualified Counsellor? For more information, visit the Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).
I'm confused about my gender. Who can I talk to?

Contact Us