Transmission

A sexually transmitted and/or blood-borne infection (STBBI) is an infection that is passed from one person to another through sexual contact. STBBIs are caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses, and it is possible for a person to receive an STBBI from another person who has one of these in their body. There are many different sexually transmitted and/or blood-borne infections.  A person can have more than one STBBI at the same time. Examples of STBBIs include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Pubic Lice, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV or genital warts), Genital Herpes, HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis A and B.   

Some STBBIs are spread when infected body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal or anal fluids enter into the body during vaginal, oral or anal sex.  Some STBBIs are spread by touching an infected area of skin and some can spread to others by sharing sex toys. Some types of STBBIs can be passed from an infected person to a baby during pregnancy and/or childbirth. Finally, some STBBIs can be spread to others by sharing needles/syringes/pipes when taking drugs or by sharing needles or other objects for piercing or tattooing.  

External condoms, internal condoms, and gloves can be used to prevent STBBI transmission during vaginal or anal sex. Condoms can also be put over sex toys to prevent transmission.  Using condoms or oral dams (square of latex) during oral sex decreases the risk of STBBI transmission for all partners – a condom on the penis or an oral dam against the anus or vulva prevents contact with body fluids. Using new needles/syringes/pipes when taking drugs helps prevent STBBI transmission.  Finally, using new needles or objects for piercing or tattooing will help prevent STBBI transmission.    

There are different types of tests for STBBIs.  Testing may include a visual inspection by a healthcare provider of the genital area (e.g. penis, vulva, anus) and skin, a blood sample, a urine sample, and/or a swab sample taken from sores or genitals (e.g. penis, vulva, vagina, anus).  If a person tests positive for an STBBI, the health care provider may ask about previous sexual contacts so that those people can receive treatment as well. All information is confidential and private. You do not need a partner’s or a parent’s permission to get free, confidential, STBBI testing.  

Click here for information on getting testing in Manitoba. For those who have Manitoba Health Cards, STBBI testing is free.