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)

DOes Lifelabs test for STI include hepatitis C


Thanks for writing.

Hep C tests are usually not offered to clients unless they are at-risk for getting Hep C. Hep C is spread through blood-to-blood contact (not through sexual fluids). The primary means of Hep C transmission is through drug use, and if you answer “no” to questions about drug use you may not be screened for Hep C. You can always ask your doctor to add atest for Hep C. 

Please feel free to comment below with any additional questions.

Hope this helps,

Health Nurse


My partner just tested positive for syphillis


If your partner tested positive for syphilis you would need to get a test for syphilis and maybe the treatment. Needing the treatment really depends on what stage of syphilis they have and when you last had sex with them.

It would be easier if you went to the same place where your partner was tested as they would know if you just need to be tested or need the syphilis treatment as well. If you are unable to go there feel free to send us a private message about your situation and we can assist you. You can also call the Provincial STI clinic on 604-707-5600 and ask to speak with a nurse as well.

Also have a look at our Syphilis web page for additional information.

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

Health Nurse

Hello,About 2 and a half years ago there could have been a possible, however not likely because i used protection, STD transmission. I know symptoms for an STD are generally undetectable, and I sure haven’t come across any. My question is, would I eventually begin to feel and notice symptoms after this long of a period? Is there a time frame where you just know you couldn’t possibly have an STD due to no symptoms showing up after so long? Does this time frame exist and is it a natural way of knowing you don’t have an STD as opposed to getting tested?Thank you so much for reading and i hope you understand my question.


Thanks for writing.

Unfortunately, the only way to know if you have an STD (or not) is to get tested.

Like you mentioned, some STDs don’t create any symptoms, and it’s not possible to tell if someone has an STD based on the presence or absence of symptoms.

Further, there is no timeframe by which we can say a person would have either cleared, or become aware of having, an STD. We know that some STDs like Syphilis and Chlamydia can live in the body for years without creating symptoms… In the case of syphilis this can even be 20-30 years!

That said, condoms protect against most STDs, so the chance of getting an STD from protected sex is much lower than that of unprotected sex. However, some STDs (like Syphilis) are passed through skin-to-skin contact, which can occur even when using a condom.

If you’re concerned that you have been exposed to an STD we would recommend getting tested. Testing can be easy and confidential, and can be done with your regular family doctor, at a walk-in clinic, or at an STD Clinic. For a list of STD clinics near you check out our Clinic Finder page.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to comment below or submit another question as needed.

Health Nurse

What happens if I have sex during my treatment of chlamydia


If you have sex during the time you’re being treated for Chlamydia, you can pass it to your partner. If they get Chlamydia, it can be passed back to you again as well.

To be on the safe side we recommend that you do not have sex until:

– one week after your 1-day treatment; or
– your 7-day treatment is complete, and
– your sex partner(s) have also been treated, even if their test results are negative.

Chlamydia is passed between people through unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex. The bacteria can be found in semen, vaginal fluids, and rectal fluids.

Condoms work well at preventing chlamydia, but if condoms are not used correctly for example having some genital to genital contact before putting the condom on or if someone had oral sex without a condom, it could be possible to pass chlamydia to someone else or get it back from an untreated partner. Chlamydia usually does not show any symptoms so it can be difficult to know if you have it back again unless you do another test.

If you did have sex with a condom during the 7 day period it would be best to talk about your personal situation with the person who did the test for you. In some situations they will recommend that you and your partner(s) get re-treated or they may suggest that you come back for a follow up test in 4weeks.

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

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

On average, how long does someone need to have chlamydia or gonorrhea for, before complications like PID, epididymitis develop?

The period of time it takes for complications to develop is not known, and will be different from person-to-person.

If you treat chlamydia and gonorrhea infections early, there are usually no other related health problems. However, delaying treatment or not treating STIs properly can lead to serious health complications.

Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can potentially cause the following complications:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs, including the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Because PID can damage the reproductive organs (and potentially cause infertility), it is important to seek health care quickly. To learn more about PID, click here.
  • Epididymitis is when the epididymis is inflamed. The epididymis is a long, tightly coiled tube that lies above and behind each testicle. To learn more about epididymitis, click here.
  • Infertility – challenges with getting pregnant.
  • Ongoing pelvic pain, including painful periods.
  • Ectopic pregnancy is when a pregnancy occurs outside of the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube). If left untreated, this can be life-threatening.
  • Reactive arthritis is an autoimmune response, causing ongoing symptoms of urethritis, conjunctivitis and arthritis.

If you think you have an untreated STI, or are experiencing any symptoms, we would recommend seeing a health care professional. You can to go your regular family doctor, a walk-in clinic, or an STI clinic for these concerns. If you need help finding an STI clinic in your area, check out our ’Find a clinic’ tool.


I rubbed her vagina and in the process my fingers were having her vaginal fluid.. then I rubbed my anus and inserted a finger in my anus.. can I have any chance of STD?

Hi, thanks for writing.

There is a low chance of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from the activities you’ve described. Anytime that your sexual partner’s fluids enter your own body there is a chance of passing an STI.

The STIs that are passed through contact with sexual fluid are: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV.

It sounds like there was limited exposure to your partner’s sexual fluids (which makes the chance of getting an STI lower). However, the only way to know for sure is to get tested.

For more information about STIs and fingering see our Know Your Chances table.

If you’re interested in getting an STI test check out our Clinic Finder page.

Hope this helps,

Health Nurse

A doctor at a walk-in clinic diagnosed me with Molluscum contagiosum. Should I see another doctor to confirm this diagnosis of Molluscum contagiosum, I just don’t want there to be a mistake as I thought they were warts. Is it pretty easy to tell warts and Molluscum contagiosum apart. As soon as he saw them he new they were Molluscum contagiosum, so should I be worried?


Thanks for writing.

It sounds like the doctor you saw was pretty confident when diagnosing the Molluscum. Every doctor has different specialities and experiences, and if the doctor you saw doesn’t have a lot of experience with genital warts or Molluscum it’s possible that there was a miss diagnosis. However, Molluscum is very common and it would not be unusual to be diagnosed with it.

Without seeing you in person it is hard for me to confirm the diagnosis you have been given, but here is some general information:

Molluscum Contagiosum is a virus that can be passed through skin-to-skin contact. It usually appears as round bumps with a small indent in the centre of the bump (almost like a ‘donut’). Molluscum can also have a white head in the centre of the bump. Molluscum can appear anywhere on the body, including: genitals, buttocks, stomach, legs, arms, neck, face. The bumps are painless but often feel itchy.

Genital warts are also caused by a virus that is passed through skin-to-skin contact. Warts usually appear as oddly-shaped textured bumps, and are often confused with skin tags. Genital warts only appear on the genitals and do not occur on the stomach, legs, arms, neck, or face. Genital warts are painless and usually not itchy.

Generally, Molluscum Contagiosum is not dangerous, and you should not be worried. The virus can be treated (either with a light spray of liquid nitrogen or by “unroofing” the bumps), and once the virus is gone it does not stay in the body (unlike genital warts and HPV). While the bumps are present it is possible to pass the virus to another person or to other parts of your body. To lessen the chance of spreading the virus to other parts of your body it’s best to avoid shaving that area until the bumps are gone. Also, after showering/bathing it’s a good idea to use a separate towel when drying the area of your body where the bumps are, as using the same towel on all of your body can spread the bumps.

If you’d like a second opinion you can always go to an STI clinic for a consult. Check out our Clinic Finder to access an STI clinic near you.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to submit another question and/or comment below if you need more clarification.

Health Nurse

I have to do my PAP for the first time in Canada. I am from another country. Would I be tested for any STI too? If yes, which STI would it be?


Thanks for writing.

The PAP test (or PAP smear) is a routine cervical cancer screening test. In British Columbia, women aged 25 and over are encouraged to get a yearly PAP test to screen for early, pre-cancerous changes to the cervix.

When women get their PAP test done they can ask for STI screening as well, but it is not done automatically. The PAP is done by swabbing the cervix and STI testing can be done by swabbing the vagina.

The STIs than can be tested for in the vagina are: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis.

Other STIs, such as HIV and Syphilis, require a blood test.

Note: If you are having symptoms of an STI (for example: unusual vaginal discharge, painful urination, bleeding between periods) then should you wait to have your PAP test done. If you get your PAP done while you have an STI it can affect the results.

Both PAP and STI testing can be done with your family doctor, at a walk-in clinic, or at an STI clinic. Check-out our Clinic Finder to find an STI clinic near you.

Hope this helps,

Health Nurse