STI Testing

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), also known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), are spread through sexual contact (vaginal, anal and oral sexual intercourse). Many STI's have no symptoms and if left untreated, serious and permanent damage may occur.
The STI Testing service for Syphilis and Gonorrhea was introduced at our clinics this year.

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. If untreated, it goes through three stages, with different symptoms at each stage.

  • During the first stage, a single chancre (painless sore) forms on your genitals, rectum, or mouth or throat. It will disappear on its own in three to six weeks, without treatment.

  • The second stage occurs about six months later. Sores and a rash may occur anywhere on your body. You may feel like you have the flu, with headache and aches and pains in your joints or bones. You may also experience hair loss and flat, wart-like growths inside your anus or vagina. Without treatment these symptoms may come and go.

  • Symptoms of the third stage may take 10 to 20 years to develop. They can be very serious and can result in blindness, heart or brain damage, and, in some cases, death. People with HIV/AIDS seem to develop third-stage syphilis much faster than others.

  • Syphilis is diagnosed by a series of blood tests. It is treatable with antibiotics and should be treated as soon as possible.

How is testing done?

A sample of blood taken from the arm is sent to the lab for diagnosis. When the results are received, the client is informed about the result and referred to the QPCC for further treatment if necessary.

What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoea. It may cause a thick discharge from your penis or from your vagina, and sometimes a burning feeling while you're urinating. In many people, especially women, there may be no symptoms. Gonorrhoea can also occur in your rectum or throat. It can develop into a chronic, serious infection if not treated. It can spread through your blood to other parts of your body, and can lead to sterility (inability to have children). In women, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

How is testing done?

Once a discharge is present, vaginal swabs are taken from women and urethral swabs from men. These are then sent to the lab for growth and diagnosis. Clients that test positive are referred to QPCC for treatment as necessary.