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.

STI Information (58)

If you had no systems ever and had oral sex then had sores two days later and was tested and the results were positive type one HSV. What would be the time frame of the contraction of HSV 1?


I am not sure if I understand the question you’re asking; let me know if I have misunderstood the question or if you require some additional information.

It sounds like you never had any symptoms of HSV in the past and then two days after having oral sex you developed HSV type 1, let me know if I got that wrong.

If you developed HSV type 1 on the genitals 2 days after receiving oral sex it’s possible it may have been passed from the sex 2 days previous. After HSV is passed to someone people can develop symptoms  after 2-21 days, the average for this is 6 days which means its more common for symptoms to show up sooner rather than later.

The difficult thing with HSV is that it is possible for people to have it passed to them and never develop symptoms that they notice until much later. At a later date a person could get symptoms that they notice and then get a swab test from the HSV sore that shows a positive result.  In this example the person may think that HSV was passed to them in the last 2-21 days but it could have been passed before this.

If you have some more specific questions related to your personal situation you would like to discuss, it may be helpful to come into one of our clinics, do online chat here or send a private question to us requesting that a nurse email or call you direct.

Health Nurse

My boyfriend has a white discharge from the penis And he said is STI, but I do not have such discharge. I want to know whether am infected


Thanks for writing.

If your boyfriend has an STI then you need to take medication too. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the STI, but it means there is 50% chance you could have it.

Even if you’re not having any symptoms, we still recommend taking the medication for the STI. Not everyone develops symptoms.

It would be best for you to go to the clinic where your boyfriend tested, and tell them you need the medication too. You can get a test done at that time to see if you have the infection, but it’s still best to take the meds before you get your test results back.

After you take the medication you need to abstain from sex for 7 days. (If you or your boyfriend have had sex in the 7 days after he took the meds, then you both need to get the meds).

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Health Nurse


my boyfriend might have Hep C what does this mean for him, me and us?Do I need to take percussions?Is it true that he could of had this many year ago but it could of been dormant?


Its very common for people to have hepatitis C for many years without knowing. Most of the time Hep C will show no symptoms when it is passed to someone and may do damage to the liver slowly so that people can feel fine for decades.

A blood test is needed to see if someone has hep c. Currently they have treatments available that have a high chance of curing hep c. Its important for the person with hep c to see a doctor and to get a referral to a liver specialist. The doctor will do blood tests and other tests on a routine basis to see how healthy the liver is and will also be able to discuss treatment options.

Hep C is usually passed via blood, it is a strong virus and can live outside the body for several days. The most common way it can pass to someone is if people share drug equipment that could have blood on it, sharp items that may have blood on them like reused tattoo or medical needles etc… You should also be careful not to share any personal care items that may have blood on them like nail clippers, toothbrushes and razors.

Hep C is not passed by activities like hugging, kissing, sharing communal space, sharing a cigarette or drink. Sharing food. To get hep C you need to get the person’s blood into your body.

In regard to precautions in regard to sex it really depends on your situation. They have found that Hep C transmission by sex in monogamous heterosexual couples that are HIV negative is a rare event. They have also found that this small risk does not seem to be related to any specific sexual practice. If someone is unsure and or find that being worried about hep c effects how they feel about having sex with a partner, condoms can be an option in these situations.

I am unsure of your situation, but there is evidence from studies of men who have sex with men that people who have HIV can shed Hep C in their semen and that their receptive partner during anal sex could have Hep C passed to them. If someone was in this situation we would recommend using condoms during anal sex.

Also have a look at the CATIE website as they are a Canadian website and have some great information on Hep C.

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


My partner was just diagnosed with genital warts. We have a baby. After reading online about recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and children acquiring warts from their caregivers hands I am terrified. Once the treatment is completed and there are no visible warts, is it safe to share a bathtub or towels? Have him change diapers or bathe the baby? Also, what if he or I have the same type of HPV orally? Can it be spread by sharing food or kissing our baby? Thank you.


I can see how reading this type of information would make someone worried. I don’t know your specific situation so I will be unable to give detailed information, but I can give you some general information and what to look out for.

Genital warts are caused by HPV and are very common. Most people who get genital HPV do not get symptoms so it is something that usually comes and goes without the person knowing. The same types of HPV that infect the genital areas can infect the mouth and throat, they currently think the most likely way for them to be transmitted is from oral sex. With most people the HPV on the genitals and throat goes away before they cause any health problems.

Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is when benign tumors caused by HPV grow in the air passages. Most visible genital warts and RRP are caused by the same type of HPV. Given how common HPV on the genitals is RRP is not very common at all, currently they estimate two or fewer cases per 100,000 children under age 18.

The most common way that RRP is passed to a child is during childbirth or before birth. As genital HPV is so common, most people do not have symptoms and there is generally no testing available it is currently impossible to know if any adult has or does not have HPV on the genitals. I am unsure if you had genital HPV at the time of delivery, but even if you did, having no visible warts would really decrease that already small chance of a child developing RRP.

In regard to RRP being passed from a caregiver’s hand I have not heard of this happening. I know in some studies they have been able to find some of the genital types of HPV on the hands, but they believe this is from rubbing/scratching the genitals with bits of the virus getting on there and showing up in a test. Generally, the types of HPV that likes the genitals does not like the hands environment so does not establish an infection there. You typically need to develop an infection in an area for there to be a chance of passing it on.

Your partner would be fine to care for the baby while having genital warts, you would just need to avoid any direct skin to skin contact with the warts. I would not be concerned about your partners hands passing genital HPV to your child, but as part of normal hygiene it is always a good idea for people to wash their hands with soap and water after touching their genitals, before preparing or eating food, before and after changing a diaper.

Sharing a bathtub would be fine, but it is always a good idea to have your own towel and wash it on a regular basis. It would be unknown if you or your partner had a HPV infection in the mouth, as discussed earlier it is common for HPV to be in the mouth, but for most people it comes and goes without causing a problem.

They currently think that oral HPV may be passed by deep kissing (French kissing) but they are unsure how much of a risk there may be with this activity. As a general guide it is best to avoid saliva to saliva contact between a parent and a child. The parent’s saliva can contain viruses e.g. like the common cold or flu and bacteria that could eventually damage the child’s teeth. You can kiss your child, just do it on dry skin and avoid doing things like sharing spoons, drinking containers, tasting food in your mouth before giving it to the child etc.…

If you have any concerns about your child’s health it would be best to visit your health care professional as they would know you and your child’s situation. Young children with RRP may find it difficult to breathe when sleeping or difficulty swallowing, these symptoms are also common to many other conditions and RRP is not common, but if these do happen you could always mention RRP to the health provider you see.

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

Health Nurse

I had a STD test done one week after unprotected sex, it was negative, do I need to follow up with another test?


Thanks for writing.

We would recommend getting tested again. Most STDs will not show-up after 1 week, and it’s easy to get false negatives if you test too soon after sex.

For example, Chlamydia is the most common STD and it doesn’t show-up until 2-6 weeks after sex. Other STDs, like Syphilis, can take 3 months to show-up.

It would be good to get tested again. We would recommend testing at 2-3 weeks after sex, and 3-months after sex.

Hope this helps!

Please feel free to submit another question as needed.

Health Nurse

hi there I was recently informed that my boyfriend has gonorrhea/chlamydia – i have been tested before we met and i was negative for everything I was wondering if he had something prior with no symptoms….. why would he now just be showing symptoms and have irritation ect … could something trigger it to act up? is it random? thanks so much


Thanks for writing.

All STIs have different “window periods” which means from the time someone has sex to the time they get an accurate test result varies between STIs. For example: Gonorrhea shows up within 2-7 days after sex (pretty quickly) but Chlamydia doesn’t show-up until 2-6 weeks after sex (takes a bit more time). That means from the time someone has sex to the time they show symptoms can vary depending on the STI they contracted.

So, STIs aren’t “triggered” they just have delayed timelines that mean things show-up later on.

Window periods also mean that depending on when you get tested your results may or may not be accurate. For example: Since Chlamydia doesn’t show-up until 2-6 weeks after sex that means if you have sex in the 6 weeks prior to getting tested, then your Chlamydia results will not be 100% accurate. Likewise if you have sex in the 7 days prior to getting testing your Gonorrhea results will not be 100% accurate.

It sounds like you were tested (and all results were negative) before meeting your boyfriend… Do you remember if you had sex recently before getting tested? If so, you could have had false negative for Chalmydia and/or Gonorrhea.

Also, are you and your partner monogamous? If you’re only having sex with each other, then it’s very likely one of you was exposed prior to your last tests. If you’re not monogamous, it’s more likely that your boyfriend was exposed more recently. Both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are very common, and completely curable.

Lastly, when someone has a partner with a positive Gonorrhea/ Chlamydia result we recommned that all their sexual partners get tested and treated. Even if you’re not having symptoms you could still have the infection.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to submit another question as needed.

Health Nurse

what is hiv window period currenty…i tested 22months after explore it came negative do i need to test again


The window period for HIV varies depending on the type of HIV test you have. There are many different types of HIV tests and they all have different window periods.

In BC the standard HIV test is the 4th Generation AB/AG Elisa test, which is 95% accurate after 6 weeks and conclusive at 3 months.

Although all HIV tests have different window periods, I do not know of any HIV test which has a window period of more than 22 months. If you tested after 22 months, then that test is very likely conclusive.

If you are unsure which test you had, I would recommend contacting the clinic where you were tested and asking about the specific HIV test you had.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

Hope this helps,

Health Nurse

I’m currently away from home on overseas deployment.Three weeks ago I went to a bar, picked up a prostitute, and we had protected vaginal sex.The next morning, my penis really hurt. I figured it was down to being a little drunk and not fully hard whilst having sex, so that and the condom friction did some nerve ending damage. Anyway, three weeks later, it’s still sore.I have no discharge, it doesn’t hurt when I pee, there are no sores there, so I’m writing off an STD. I’ve taken 1g Azithromycin and 400mg Cefixme as a precaution anyway.Any clue what this could be causing the problem?


Thanks for writing.

Without doing an assessment in person it’s hard to give you a specific answer, but I can give you some general information.

If you used a condom (and there wasn’t any penetration before the condom went on, and it was still intact when you withdrew) then we would say the chance of getting an STI is very low.

Did you receive unprotected oral the same night? It’s possible to get an STI from the back of someone’s throat… Or, did you have any unprotected sex in the last 3-6 months? Sometimes it can take a while for STIs to show up but we only notice it after new encounter…

If you had unprotected oral or other recent unprotected sex, then there’s still a possibility your symptoms are caused by an STI. Not all STIs cause discharge or pain when we pee.

If you haven’t had any unprotected oral or other recent sex, I would say the chance you have some soft tissue/ nerve damage seems likely. Friction injuries are quiet common, and usually resolve on their own. Our doctor says to compare it to an ankle sprain—for some people it can take 6 weeks for things to feel normal again.

It’s not a bad idea to have taken the Azithromycin and Cefixime, and I’m glad you were able to access that. Did the medication help with the pain? If you feel better after the meds we can assume there was an STI component to your symptoms.

If your pain is persisting after taking the meds, I would continue to monitor it. Likely it will resolve on its own in a few more weeks. However, if your pain worsens, or you notice new swelling, or pain in your scrotum (testes), then I would recommend going to see a health care professional right away.

Please let us know if this answers your question or if you need any additional information.

Health Nurse

hello, im a 29 years old male and I want to get tested for HPV because my girlfriend need the proof that im clean to have sex, where can I go to get that kind of test? here in Richmond bc or Vancouver area?


Thanks for writing.

In Canada we do not currently have any routine testing for HPV.

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus that is passed through skin-to-skin contact. There are hundreds of different strains of HPV, and anyone who has been sexually active will likely carry one or more of these strains. Most of the strains are not dangerous, and most people who carry them won’t develop symptoms.

Some of the strains of HPV can cause genital warts and after being exposed to the virus someone might develop warts on their genitals. These warts are diagnosed as “HPV” by visual assessment by a doctor or nurse, they are not diagnosed through a test. These warts usually go away on their own in 1-2 years, and there is treatment that makes them go away sooner if desired.

Other stains of HPV do not cause genital warts, but they can cause an increased risk for cancer. The strains that can be risky for cancer are always invisible, and you can’t see by looking at person if they have it or not. Women over age 25 are encouraged to go for the 3-year PAP test to check for the pre-cancerous kinds, but no other precautions are recommended.

I am not sure if your girlfriend is concerned about genital warts or cancer, but it might be worth having a look at our HPV information page together. Condoms can certainly reduce the likelihood of passing HPV between partners, but because condoms don’t cover all skin they’re not a 100% guarantee.

Generally when people ask their partner to get tested for STIs they mean: Chalmydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. If you need help finding an STI clinic near you check-out our Clinic Finder.

Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any more questions.

Health Nurse


Hi I wanted to ask if it is normal to have little tiny red bumps on the shaft of penis, on the thighs, arms, stomach. The bumps look like red tiny pin point. I am a concerned wife my husband had cheated on me four weeks ago and I used unprotected sex after finding out about his affair. I was getting freaked out if it is gential herpes, heat rash, bedbugs, scabies or other symptoms


Thanks for writing.

Without seeing the red bumps in-person, it’s very difficult to give an exact answer but I will give you some general information.

There are lots of different things that can appear on the skin, and they are not always related to sexually transmitted infections. For example, you mentioned heat rash. However, we don’t usually see heat rash on the penis shaft. Also, fungal infections are very common, especially in hot weather, but we don’t usually see fungal infections on the arms. It could be a combination of heat rash/ fungal infection.

There are some red bumps/rashes that can be caused by sexually transmitted infections, but few that are so widespread over the body. It doesn’t sounds like Herpes to me, as Herpes usually appears as 1-10 bumps in an isolated area (not on thighs, arms, stomach etc.). With bedbugs we don’t usually see bites on the penis, but it is possible. Scabies can affect the genitals as well as other parts of the body, and that is possible as well. Scabies is typically very itchy, especially at night, have you noticed the bumps being itchy?

Lastly, red bumps/rash that appears over the body can be associated with Syphilis. There is not a lot of syphilis in the heterosexual population in Canada, but it is possible.

I would recommend going to see a medical professional about these symptoms. If it is something like Syphilis it’s important that both you and your partner get treated.

It can be difficult to navigate these symptoms, especially when you know your partner may have been at risk. The only way to know for sure is to get tested for STIs.

For these symptoms you can go to your regular doctor, a walk-in clinic, or an STI clinic. You can also get tested for STIs at the same places. If you need help finding an STI clinic near you check out our Clinic Finder tool.

Let us know if you have any other questions.

Health Nurse