How does STBBI screening work?

Step 1: Book your appointment

The first step is to make an appointment with the screening clinic of your choice. Depending on where you choose to go, you’ll need to call or fill out an online form to make an appointment. It takes less time than waiting in line to pee at Osheaga, we promise!

When is the best time to make an appointment after being exposed to a risk of infection? 

A minimum delay between exposure and screening is necessary for test results to be reliable. This time window varies depending on the sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection (STBBI). The best thing to do is to make an appointment as soon as you have a concern following a sexual encounter so that a healthcare professional can help you determine which tests to run and when. If you need to come back for more tests, the healthcare professional will let you know. Make sure to use barrier protection methods (internal or external condoms, dental dams, latex gloves, etc.) during your rolls in the hay while you’re waiting for your test results.

If you think you have symptoms, skip the screening and make an appointment with a doctor straight away.

Step 2: Don’t forget your health insurance card

Make sure you have your oh-so-sacred health insurance card with you. If you don’t have one or if it’s expired, consultation fees may apply depending on the clinic. Don’t hesitate to inquire about potential fees before your appointment.

If you don’t have a valid health insurance card, some places also offer free STBBI screening across Quebec. Don’t hesitate to consult their websites to find a clinic near you. Here are a few examples:

Step 3: Q&As with the pros

Once you arrive for your appointment, you will meet a nurse and/or a doctor who will ask you to fill out a short questionnaire to determine your risk factors for different STBBIs and the tests that would be best suited to your situation. In some clinics, such as Prelib, you will complete this questionnaire entirely online! We know that answering these kinds of questions in person can be awkward for some people. Thank you, internet! In any case, whether you do this online or in person, it’s 100% confidential. You are in good hands: don’t be afraid to talk about your sexual practices and experiences with the healthcare professionals—honesty will help determine which tests you need to have.

Several clinics are actively working to provide smooth and inclusive services. Don’t hesitate to use our filters when you want to make an appointment.

Step 4: TEST TIME!

After this short interview or questionnaire, you will take the appropriate tests. Tests may require blood samples, swabs taken by you or by a healthcare professional, or urine samples. Don’t worry, you will receive all the necessary instructions at that time. Different tests are available depending on your sexual practices and the STBBI being screened for.

If you want to do a full battery of tests, don’t hesitate to talk to the medical staff about it, even if you are not considered at risk. It’s okay to want peace of mind!

Step 5: What about fees?

After getting tested, you may have to pay sampling and/or transportation fees.

Step 6: Wait for you results

After all that, you just have to wait for your test results. Depending on the clinic, you may or may not be notified about a negative test result, but you will always be notified for a positive one. Make sure to protect yourself every time you have sex (oral, genital, and anal) and to follow the specific instructions given to you by the nurse or doctor while you wait for your test results. You wouldn’t want to spread your STBBI around like scattered fries carried away by seagulls!

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