10 May 2004

I think I might have caught an STI, what to do?

Hi ! I have been really worried for the past week. I think I might have caught an STI but I am not sure. I only had one sexual relation, but it was unprotected. I am read that sexually transmitted infections (STI) can cause cancer or make me sterile. Is this true? Could you help me out because I am worried. Thanks! – Anonymous.

Équipe -Pose ta question!-

Hello dear,

It is normal to be anxious if you feel you may have a sexually transmitted infection. These infections can be painful, embarrassing and can get worse over time if they are not treated. If you have had unprotected sex, even if it was only once, it is possible that you caught a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The symptoms you describe (a bad smelling discharge) could be caused by an STI or another kind of infection, but the only way to know for sure is to be examined by a doctor. Only a doctor would be able to diagnose what is causing your symptoms and tell you how you should treat it. Even if you do have an STI, it is important to remember that some common sexually transmitted infections are very easily cured. Infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are caused by bacteria, and they can be cured simply by taking antibiotics. It is important to get treatment for whatever infection you may have because if you leave infections untreated for a long time, they can cause serious problems.

The best thing for you to do would be to see a doctor as soon as possible in order to determine what is causing your symptoms and what you should do. If you do not have a regular doctor or if you feel uncomfortable going to your regular doctor, a doctor at any clinic, hospital or CLSC will be able to examine you and prescribe an appropriate treatment. There is also an organization called Head & Hands which provides services, including medical services, specifically to young people. You can book an appointment and see a doctor there by calling (514) 481-0277. Remember that if you are over 14 years old, your medical information is confidential. This means that whatever is in your medical file is private and your doctor cannot share it with anyone without your permission, not even with your parents or your sexual partners.

When you see the doctor, they will probably ask you to describe your symptoms, and may ask you what kinds of sexual activities you were doing. Then the doctor will probably want to examine you, which would include looking at your genitals while you lie down. The doctor may also take a swab from inside your vagina (like a Q-tip inside your vagina), and may also take a blood sample. Some parts of the examination may be uncomfortable but most people do not find any part of the exam very painful. Depending on what the doctor thinks is causing your symptoms, they may decide to wait for results of certain tests in order to prescribe a treatment, or you may get a prescription or treatment right away. Often the prescription is for pills you have to take every day for a couple of weeks.

If your doctor gives you medication, it is very important to complete the treatment prescribed, even if you start to feel better before the end of the treatment. If you do not complete the treatment, it could be possible that you have not eliminated the infection from your body. Until you have completed the treatment, it is possible to pass the infection on to your sexual partners. You and your partner can use condoms if you are having sex during this time to prevent passing on the infection. If you are still seeing the same sex partner, you may also want to talk to him about getting tested and treated as well.

If treated quickly, many STIs do not cause long term problems. However, infections that are left untreated for a long time can cause problems for a person, including possibly cancer or sterility. This is why it is important for you to see a doctor and get treatment as soon as possible.

Remember that unprotected vaginal sex not only puts you at risk for catching STIs but also for pregnancy. You may want to think about how you can protect yourself from STIs and pregnancy in the future. Using condoms when you have sex is one of the best ways to protect against STIs and unwanted pregnancy. You can also talk to your doctor about other birth control options you can use in addition to condoms if you wish.

Good luck!

Team AlterHeros