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 Treatment (37)

is it safe to use a condom after treating STI within the seven days/week?


The short answer is no.

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.

While condoms reduce the chance of passing chlamydia and gonorrhea, there is still a possibility of passing them even when a condom is used.

Even after you start taking treatment for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea, you can still pass them in the first 7 days. It takes 7 days for the medication to treat these infections. Only after 7 days is the chance of passing these infections gone.

Even if your partner is taking treatment at the same time as you, we still say do not have sex until after 7 days. The treatment won’t work if someone is re-exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea in those 7 days.

If you can’t avoid having sex for 7 days, then using a condom will help lower the chance of passing the STI to your partners, but there is no guarantee.

In addition to passing the infection to your partner(s) (or back to yourself), it’s important to avoid sex when you have chlamydia or gonorrhea because the STI can increase your risk of getting HIV. Once the chlamydia or gonorrhea is gone, the HIV risk is normal again.

If you did have sex during the 7 days, then we recommend that you talk to the doctor or clinic where you got the treatment. 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 4 weeks.

Have a look at our web page on chlamydia for additional information.

Health Nurse

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

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


My partner is uncircumcised, can this increase my chance of getting BV? I’ve had recurrent BV and trying to figure out ways to prevent and minimize this annoying infection.


Thanks for writing.

Having a partner who is uncircumcised does not increase your risk for bacterial vaginosis (BV).

BV is not sexually transmitted, or passed between partners. Bacterial vaginosis is an overgrowth of normal vaginal bacteria (so it’s not “bad” bacteria), and it’s your own bacteria (so it didn’t come from anyone else).

BV can be very frustrating for many people. The vagina is prone to change, and changes in vaginal pH can lead to BV. It’s common to get BV frequently for a few years, and then not get it again.

BV is treated with antibiotics. There is also some research that shows a natural supplement called Boric Acid can be used to prevent BV. Boric acid is not antibiotics, but it can help to stabilize the vaginal pH, if you find you are having a frequent BV. For more information on Boric Acid please contact a compounding pharmacy near you, or contact Finlandia Pharmacy in Vancouver.

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

Health Nurse

Hi, me and my boyfriend were treated for chlamydia almost 2 weeks ago. I think we left it for too long because I was feeling symptoms but didn’t think anything of it until they started getting really bad and we didn’t know what to do. Now that we’ve been treated we tried having sex again and it was really painful and it hurts every time now. Is it not cured or do I have something worse, I’m really worried.

If you have both been treated, then the chlamydia has been treated. All partners in the last 2 months should also be treated no matter what their testing results say. This is to prevent the chlamydia being spread easily. Usually the symptoms would clear by the time a week has passed. If it was a severe infection, then it can take time for the healing of the inflammation inside. If you continue to experience pain then its recommended to see a doctor about that or go to your local STI clinic for an assessment as soon as possible to be assessed for pelvic inflammatory infection that chlamydia can cause. If this is the case, you will be given different antibiotics to be taken over a longer period of time.  If you are having severe abdominal pain, please go to the nearest hospital emergency.

with regards to PEP Drugs is it necessary to take them if the person tested negative

If the person you had the risk with, has tested HIV negative, then you can stop taking the PEP as there is no longer a risk. If you are unsure that their test was accurate in reflectiing the incubation times for any risks that they might have had, then it is a good idea to continue the PEP and discuss it with the doctor at your next visit. 

I just had a high risk exposure to HIV. How can I get PEP?


Thanks for writing! We’re glad to reached out to us.

PEP is available free of charge when someone has been potentially exposed to HIV through consensual sex, or sexual assault. PEP must be started within 72 hours (3 days) of sexual exposure.

PEP is available in all emergency rooms in BC, as well as outpost nursing stations in rural areas.

In Vancouver: St. Paul’s Hospital Emergency Room – accessible 24 hours a day

In Vancouver, PEP is also available at select health clinics:

  • Bute Street Clinic, 1170 Bute Street, Vancouver – Open M-F 11am-6:30pm, drop-in only
  • Health Initiative for Men, #310 – 1033 Davie Street, Vancouver – Open M-F 4pm-9pm, drop-in for PEP
  • St. Paul’s Hospital Immunodeficiency Clinic, 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver – Open M-Th 8am-8pm; F 8am-4pm, drop-in or call for appointment

If you are outside of Vancouver, try your local hospital emergency room.

Please let us know if you need any more information.

Health Nurse

Will 14 days of doxycycline 100mg 2 times a day kill and stop the syphilis sore or incubation of syphilis first stage and can it become immune to the drug thank you


Thanks for writing.

Doxycycline 100mg taken 2x day for 14 days is an effective cure for primary Syphilis.

Doxycycline is the second-line treatment for primary Syphilis. The first-line treatment is Bicillin (a form of penicillin), but Doxycycline is used when clients’ have an allergy to penicillin.

Syphilis is not resistant to Doxycycline, and will not become resistant during the two weeks of medication.

Sometimes it can take longer for the Syphilis sore to heal with Doxycycline, as the medication is taken over two weeks (instead of one dose up front). However, the Doxycycline will heal the Syphilis sore and stop incubation and transmission.

It takes two weeks for the Doxcycline to completely kill the Syphilis, so you need to not have sex while taking the medication, or you can pass it to your partners.

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

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


My partner and i both realized that i was having weird stuff going on down there, and we confirmed that as i was positive for chlamydia. i took the pills , but after 6 days i had protected sex and then unprotected sex and then he took the pills. should i go get retested ? it’s confusing so i thought i would ask. i’m not sure if i would have chlamydia again from it since i had already taken my pills and i think they stop it ??? i don’t understand the way it works too well. we both took the 4 pills at once, as i read on here that there was a different way


Thanks for your question.

There are two options for treating chlamydia: taking 4 pills at once, or taking daily pills for 1 week. Both are effective at treating chlamydia (as long as you avoid re-infection).

It’s important to abstain from sex for 7 days after taking your medication to avoid re-infection. It takes 7 days for medication to fully work and kill off the chlamydia bacteria. If you had sex 6 days after taking your meds, it is possible that you still had the chlamydia and passed it to your partner. We would recommend getting re-treated.

If your partner did not the pills until after your most recent unprotected sex, then that is another reason to get re-treated. If you had unprotected sex with your partner before your positive chalmydia test, it’s very likely that they have chlamydia, and you can get it back from them if they’re not treated.

This can be confusing for a lot of people, so you’re not the only one! It’s really important that both you and your partner take the meds and abstain from sex for 7 days after. (If you can’t abstain from sex then make sure you use condoms for any penetration).

Hope this helps!

Please feel free to leave a comment below or submit another question as needed.

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