What to Expect if You Test Positive for an STI

Your reaction may be to freak out, but testing positive for an STI happens to a lot of people. Just because you have an STI does not make you a bad person, there is no reason to feel ashamed. So the HCP calls you to the office, they tell you the results, and now it’s time for some action: treatment and contact tracing. If you didn’t get a blood test during the first visit, the HCP will recommend one now.

Treatment depends on the STI you have, but for the most common infections, chlamydia and gonorrhea, you take antibiotic pills right in the office, which are free. One dose and you’re done! (For most people it’s just one dose; it can be different for those that are pregnant or those who have allergies to certain meds).

The next part is called contact tracing. There is a law in Manitoba that says HCP’s must contact those people who have done sex stuff with the person who is positive for an STI. What is the purpose of contact tracing? So people can get tested and treated, that’s it. Some people may feel embarrassed and don’t want to call their past sexual partners. The HCP can call the partners and ask them to come in for an appointment, but they don’t have to tell that person that you have an STI. Seriously, your info can be kept totally confidential. The wording that some HCP’s use when they call a contact goes something like this, “Hello, my name is Nurse So & So. Someone you have been sexual with has tested positive for chlamydia. Due to privacy laws, I can’t release that person’s name. I would like for you to come to the nursing station to be tested and possibly treated for chlamydia as soon as possible”.

If you are in a relationship with someone, it is a good idea to talk about it with them. Honesty is super important when dating someone, and you need to be able to talk about sex stuff if you want to do sex stuff. It can be hard to do, but ask your HCP for help on how to communicate this kind stuff.

Now you are treated, and contacts have been notified. What next? You need to refrain from sex stuff for as long as the HCP tells you (usually its 7 days for chlamydia or gonorrhea) so that the treatment has time to actually work, and you and your partner don’t get re-infected. It’s also very wise to use barrier methods for future sex stuff, like condoms.