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Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening

British Columbia Specific Information

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) affects both men and women, and is passed from one person to another during sex or intimate contact. There are numerous ways you can protect yourself against STIs, see HealthLinkBC File #08o Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

To learn about the different STIs, symptoms, and treatment, see the HealthLinkBC Files - Sexually Transmitted Infection Series. Further information is also available from SmartSex Resource, BC Centre for Disease Control and BC Centre for Excellence in HIV / AIDS.

If you have concerns about an STI or want additional information, speak with your health care provider, or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1. You can call 8-1-1 and speak to a registered nurse anonymously anytime, every day of the year.

Overview

Guidelines for chlamydia

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends screening of at-risk groups:footnote 1

  • Sexually active women and men age 25 years or younger.
  • Pregnant women. All pregnant women should be screened at the first prenatal visit. For those who test positive or who are at high risk for reinfection, another screening in the third trimester may be done.
  • Anyone treated for chlamydia six months after treatment.
  • Anyone over age 25 who is at higher risk. This may include people who have:
    • A new sex partner or partners.
    • A sex partner who has other partners.
  • Anyone who is bisexual or transgender or who has a partner of the same sex.

The PHAC also recommends that you have the test again 3 months after you finish treatment. People who have been diagnosed and treated for chlamydia may get it again if they have sex with the same untreated partner or partners.

Guidelines for syphilis

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis because of the severe consequences of being pregnant while infected or having a child born with congenital syphilis. Screening should be done:footnote 2

  • At the first prenatal visit for all pregnant women.
  • During the third trimester and again at delivery for pregnant women who have an increased risk of acquiring syphilis.

The PHAC recommends that anyone with high-risk sexual behaviours be screened.footnote 3

Yearly testing for syphilis is recommended for men who are sexually active with other men. If these men also engage in risky sexual behaviour, have HIV, or have a sex partner with syphilis, testing should take place more often.

Guidelines for gonorrhea

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommends testing for all sexually active men and women ages 25 and younger. The PHAC also recommends testing for men and women who engage in high-risk sexual behaviours.footnote 4

If you engage in high-risk sexual behaviours, you may want to consider being tested once a year for gonorrhea even though you don't have symptoms. Testing will allow gonorrhea to be quickly diagnosed and treated. This helps to reduce the risk of transmitting gonorrhea and avoid complications of the infection.

The PHAC recommends testing for pregnant women to prevent them from transmitting gonorrhea to their babies. All pregnant women should be tested during their first prenatal visit. If a pregnant woman is at high risk for gonorrhea, she may be tested again to prevent transmitting the infection to her newborn.footnote 5

The PHAC also recommends that you have the test again 3 months after you finish treatment. People who have been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhea may get it again if they have sex with the same untreated partner or partners.footnote 4

References

Citations

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada (2008, updated 2010). Chlamydial infections. In Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections. Available online: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/sti-its/cgsti-ldcits/index-eng.php. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  2. Public Health Agency of Canada (2013). Canadian guidelines on sexually transmitted infections: Specific population—Pregnancy. Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/sti-its/cgsti-ldcits/section-6-4-eng.php. Accessed October 3, 2014.
  3. Public Health Agency of Canada (2006, updated 2010). Syphilis. In Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections. Available online: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/sti-its/guide-lignesdir-eng.php.
  4. Public Health Agency of Canada (2006, updated 2010). Gonoccoccal infections. In Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections. Available online: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/sti-its/guide-lignesdir-eng.php.
  5. Public Health Agency of Canada (2013). Canadian guidelines on sexually transmitted infections: Specific population—Pregnancy. Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/sti-its/cgsti-ldcits/section-6-4-eng.php. Accessed October 3, 2014.

Credits

Current as of:
February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine