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 Testing (297)

Is there any walk in clinic where I could go for a HIV NAAT test without appointment.


NAAT testing is an HIV test that looks for the actual virus in the blood. The NAAT window period is shorter than standard HIV antibody testing.  It is 90% accurate 10 – 12 days after sexual contact.

This test is available for men and trans people in a few clinics in Vancouver, as part of a study.  The aim of this study is to find people when they first get HIV.  For the first 2 months after someone gets HIV, it is easy to pass on because there is a high amount of virus in the body.

The clinics that offer HIV NAAT testing :

Bute clinic: always drop – in, with no appointments.

HIM : drop in and appointments, but appointments will guarantee you a time to be seen.

Provincial STI Clinic: mainly by appointment, but you may be seen if you drop in.


Please leave a comment to let us know if that 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.

Hi. Can I get HIV from receiving oral sex with a sex worker? HIV and other STIs I got tested for after four weeks were negative. They told me I had an early HIV test and standard test and the results are 98% accurate. What is risk for me now? I am not on any medication and have good health, so can my results change after three month or do I need to get test again


We do not consider receiving oral sex as a risk for HIV. Therefore, you should not have to repeat the HIV test for the oral sex you got 4 weeks ago.

However, it is possible to get other STIs when you receive oral sex. These include Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, herpes and syphilis. 

Your urine tests done at 4 weeks should have been accurate for gonorrhea, because most results are accurate after 7 days.  The test for Chlamydia is most likely accurate at 4 weeks, but it can take up to 6 weeks to show up.

The blood test for syphilis, done at 4 weeks, may be a bit early. Most tests will become positive within 6 weeks, but it can take as long as 3 months to show up.

As for HPV and herpes, we usually diagnose them when we see signs of them.  Check out our pages on herpes and HPV.

You might find it helpful to look at our “STI at a Glance” chart. It gives information on window periods and you can see when tests will be most accurate. 

You may want to repeat some tests, such as Chlamydia and syphilis, 6 weeks to 3 months after the contact you had. 

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

Health Nurse

I had sex last night…a friend told me the person I was with had herpes. Should I get tested for herpes and what else?


It is always a good idea to get checked if you are worried about a sexual contact. 

Routine STI tests in men and women usually include urine or swabs for gonorrhea and chlamydia.  In women, it can also include swabs for trichomonas, yeast and bacterial vaginosis. 

We check your blood for syphilis, HIV and sometimes Hepatitis A, B and C.

As for herpes, we usually only test when there are some symptoms of herpes, such as a sore on your skin. If you did get herpes, it takes around 2 – 20 days (average 6 days) for symptoms to show up.

It also takes time between when you had sex and when an infection will show up on the test. This is called a “window period”.  Have a look at our chart, “STI’s at a Glance” for info on when to get tested.. 

If you notice any changes in your body, go for testing right away.

For help finding a clinic in BC, check out our Clinic Finder.

Please leave a comment to let us know if that 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

Do it have to for nurses on a bc clinic to get test for stis after a period …is it possible to get infection if some one go to a clinic for get test or we go to any clinic in bc for test


I am not sure I properly understand your question, but I will give you some information about STI testing in BC.

The clinics you see in our clinic finder are public health or Options clinics. Many offer free STI testing if you do not have a Medical Services Plan (MSP) Care Card.

You can also get testing at any doctor’s office or walk in clinic in BC.
If you do not have a Care Card, you will have to pay for the visit, but the STI tests are free.

If you are wondering about when to get tested, you can check out our chart called STI’s at a Glance.

Click here if you want some information about what to expect when you go for a test.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answered your question. If not, feel free to send in another question.

Health Nurse

Regarding HIV testing, when is it necessary for one to re-test at 6 months? Under what conditions should one re-test at the 6 months?


I’m not quite sure if you are asking about routine testing or HIV window periods. Here is a bit of info on both:

When to get routine testing depends on things like whether you and your partners have other partners, whether condoms are used and how they are used. Click here for more information on when to get tested. 

For HIV window periods, the virus is usually found in the blood within 3-6 weeks, but it can take up to 3 months. Click here for more information on HIV and testing.

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

Health Nurse

Why is Syphilis on the rise?


We have seen an increase in syphilis, starting in 2011. In BC, the majority of cases (almost all) are now in men who have sex with men (MSM), many of whom also have HIV.

The increase is possibly due to a number of things.

One factor may be changes in social networks, otherwise known as “who you hang out with and have sex with”. If an infection gets into a community or social network, then we tend to see rates increase in the group. Sometimes we see a sudden increase in rates. It may reflect a true increase, or it may be that we did more testing in a network of people. Trends over a longer period may be more accurate. 

Changes in how people have sex or sexual practices, such as condom use, could be another factor that plays a part in rising rates in a social network. 

 Increased rates may be related the natural course of syphilis. There are a number of stages of syphilis, and times when it is more infectious. Click here to learn more about syphilis.

Another factor may be that many times people do not notice signs or symptoms that go along with syphilis, and are not aware they have it. Syphilis is easily passed through oral, genital and anal sex.  This is why we recommend routine testing, if you are sexually active and you or your partners have more than one partner.

We will post some more information about syphilis trends in October, when stats for 2011 are available. Please check back with us then.

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

Health Nurse

I hear that it hurts to get STI testing. Do they need to stick a swab in my penis?


These days you usually don’t need to get a swab in your penis. Most of the time all you have to do for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea testing, is pee in a cup.

If you have been treated for Gonorrhea you may be asked to return for a swab to make sure that it is gone.

Your health care provider will talk to you about this if they think it is needed. 

For more about STI testing, click here.

Health Nurse