A service provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control



Answered Questions

In the years since SmartSexResource launched, we have developed a library of questions asked by you, and answered by our expert sexual health nurses.

Our answered questions library cover a broad range of sexual health topics and common questions we hear at our clinics.

Clinics and Services (47)

Im 24 years old and still a virgin, and i have been experiencing mid cycle spotting for the past 8-9 years and i think its time for me to get a pap test. However, i am very scared to get a test done because I’ve never been sexually active before or had any sort of penetration so i think my hymen is still in tact. I guess my question is would a gyno still be able to do the test on me and what can i expect? Im just looking for some guidance and words of encouragement because i am very scared but i want to take care of my health.

Hi, and thanks for writing in with your question

It’s really normal to feel scared when thinking that something might be wrong or when facing something unknown, like a first physical exam. The most important thing will be to have a doctor that you can trust and to have a discussion about what symptoms you have been experiencing. That way, together you and the doctor can decide what the best tests and follow up will be for your situation.

If the doctor recommends pap testing, they will need to do a pelvic exam. A pelvic exam is the process by which a healthcare provider looks inside the vagina at the cervix using a speculum. The pap test is just one part of the exam where the doctor or nurse gently collects some cells from the cervix to be looked at under a microscope for any atypical or abnormal characteristics

Your healthcare provider will still be able to perform a pelvic exam even though you have never had intercourse. This exam doesn’t change anything, and just like using tampons doesn’t change or affect your hymen, neither will a pelvic exam.

Scarleteen is a really great sex ed website and they have an awesome article entitled Your First Gynecologist Visit that I would encourage you to check out.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

Do I need to make an appointment to do a STI test?

Hi, and thanks for your question.

It depends on where you’re testing. Some clinics require appointments and others offer drop-in access.
Have a look at our Clinic Finder for a list of clinics in your area.

Our Get Checked Online service might also be a good option for you if you live close to one of the participating LifeLabs

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

Are IUDs covered by pwd

Hi, and thanks for your question.

From what we can see, IUDs are not covered under the Persons With Disabilities assistance or benefits. However, there are times when a case can be made to apply for special authority for drug coverage for medical necessity.

Here are a couple of services that may also be of assistance in answering your question:

Disability Alliance BC
BC Women’s Hospital Access Clinic

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

How long does it take for a std test

Hi thanks for your question. Usually an STD test can take about 20 minutes to half an hour depending on the person, their concerns and the tests being done. To find out more about STI testing please see https://smartsexresource.com/get-tested/tests-and-exams and to find a clinic near you please see https://smartsexresource.com/get-tested/clinic-finder  Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns. Health Nurse

I am really stressed if I have an std or not but I don’t have any symptoms. I had oral and vaginal sex with condom on at all times. I can’t seem to control these thoughts and do sti testing places charge fees for testing. Is it anonymous?

Thank you for your question. 

Using a condom is definitely a great way to protect yourself from getting an STI; especially if it was used for both oral and vaginal sex.

If you are sexually active, it’s a really great idea to go and get tested regularly for STIs as most people who have an STI have no symptoms.

If you are writing from within Canada, testing for STIs is free of charge. Depending on where you go and get tested, you can use your real name, or a pseudonym (not real name). 

This webpage (SmartSexResource) has a list of clinics that offer testing. It can be found here: https://smartsexresource.com/get-tested/clinic-finder

There is also this online testing service that may also work for you: Get Checked Online https://getcheckedonline.com/Pages/default.aspx  It can sometimes offer that extra layer of anonymity for people.



My penis skin become irregular and whit I some area also tear I think it is infection. What I do to get rid of it. Please help me


Thanks for your question.

It’s difficult to give you an exact answer without seeing your symptoms in person, but I can give you some general information.

Skin changes on the genitals can be caused by many things. Common fungal infections can cause skin breakdown (aka skin tear) and white build-up around the head of penis. Fungal infections are treated with anti-fungal creams like Canestan.

Sexually transmitted ifnections can also cause skin changes. Syphilis can cause swelling and sores on the penis, and mollusucm contagiosum can cause itchy, white bumps.

I would recommend going to see a healthcare professional in person.  You can go to your family doctor, a walk-in clinic, or an STI clinic. Check out our Clinic Fidner tool for an STI clinic near you. Whether it’s a fungal infection or an STI they can help you get the right treatment.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question, or if you need more information.

Health Nurse


Are doctors always on staff and does the clinic take drop in appointments?


Thanks for your question.

I’m not sure which clinic you are referring to, but I can give you information about two clinics operated by the BCCDC:

Provincial STI Clinic (655 West 12th Ave, Vancouver, BC):

  • Clinic open Monday-Saturday, hours vary
  • Doctors on staff everyday
  • Appointments recommended – Some days there is drop-in, but generally this clinic is by    appointment only. If you need drop-in you can call the clinic that day and ask if    they have drop-in.

Bute St. Clinic at Qmunity (1170 Bute St, Vancouver, BC):

  • Clinic open Monday-Friday, 11am-6:30pm
  • Doctors are on staff all day Monday, Tuesday, Thursday; Doctors are only available after 3pm on Wednesday. There is no doctor at the clinic on Friday.
  • Drop-in only – Clinic operates on a drop-in basis with two daily sign-up sheets: 1st sign-up sheet goes up at 11am, and 2nd at 3pm. Clients can come and sign-up    any time after the sheets have been posted, and will be seen on a “first come, first serve”    basis. Note: Appointments are used for client’s on PrEP.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to leave a comment below or submit another question.

Health Nurse

I’m an international student here in Victoria and recently tested positive for Chlamydia. I currently don’t have my B.C Care card and am wondering in which clinic I can come into to receive treatment without the need for such care card, preferably at a low cost. Also, what materials if any do I need to bring with me to the clinic, i.e ID/test results. Thank you


Thanks for your question.

You should be able to get treatment for free (no cost). 

The Victoria Health Unit STI Clinic offers free STI treatment. Located on Cook St. (Quadra Village). See link for phone number and hours.

For youth ages 14-24 there is also the Victoria Youth Clinic offers free STI treatment. Located in downtown. See link for phone number and hours.

In terms of materials to bring… you don’t need any ID or test results. You can just tell the clinic staff that you tested positive for chlamydia and need treatment. If you have ID it never hurts to bring it along, but it is not required.

Also, these STI clinics offer free STI testing (in case you had to pay for your testing before).

Please let us know if you need any more information.

Health Nurse


Hello,I had unprotected sex and I want to get tested for stds. I’m on a working holiday and my insurance doesn’t cover those tests. How much would they cost?Thank you!


Thanks for writing.

There are lots of places where you can get STD/HIV testing for free. See below for a list of online tools you can search for a free clinic, and a few free clinics in Vancouver listed.

Check out these tools for finding STD clinics near you:

Smart Sex Resource Clinic Finder

OPT Clinic Finder

Vancouver Clinics:

Provincial STI Clinic

Bute St Clinic (LGBTQ focused)

HIM Clinic (Men only)

Please let us know if you need any more information.

Health Nurse

Hie am I able to upload a picture? I started noticing thatvmy vaginal entrance had lots of extra skin. Which I know is not normal because it has never been like that. It just looked like too much skin near the entrance is it normal. I really want to upload a picture if possible


We do not have a way to upload pictures to the site, but what you can do is send us a private question with an email you want to use for this and one of our nurses can get back to you.

We would be able to see if it would be best for you to visit a clinic or if you prefer to email a photo. Also how you can send it to us and ensure your privacy while doing so.

Let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Health Nurse