Take care of your sexual health!
Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness provides free* and confidential testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) right on Halifax campus to Dalhousie and King’s students.
Testing for some STIs is done by either a swab (swabs are like Q-tips with a long handle) or a urine test.
Students are given the following options for STI testing through the mobile STI Screening Clinics, or by booking an appointment with a nurse or doctor:
- If you have a penis: you can be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea through a urine test.
- If you have a vagina: you can be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea through a vaginal swab
- You can be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea through a throat (oral) swab
- You can be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea with an anal (rectal) swab
- Nov. 29, 10am - 1pm - Sexton, Melda Murray Student Centre
- Jan. 17, 11am - 2pm - LeMarchant Place Atrium
- February, TBD
- March 13, 10am - 1pm - Sexton, Melda Murray Student Centre
- Marrch 27, 11am - 2pm - LeMarchant Place Atrium
There are currently no upcoming STI Screening Clinics on Truro campus.
To book an appointment for STI screening, please contact Health Services.
New starting Fall 2023: HIV Self-test Kits
Pick up an HIV self-test kit on campus at the following locations:
- STI Screening Clinics
- Student Health & Wellness Centre
- Health Services (Truro)
It’s good to know your HIV status, pick up a self-test kit and test at home with your partner or a friend.
Book an appointment with a nurse or doctor to talk about HIV prevention options like PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), which can greatly reduce your chances of contracting HIV.
What to expect
- You will check-in and register your contact information (name, address, phone number, health card number)
- Don't forget your health card if this is the first visit with Student Health & Wellness!
- You will not be asked to disclose the test(s) you wish to do when registering, gender neutral and/or gendered washrooms will be available to collect your own samples.
- You will decide on the test(s) that are applicable to you, in the washrooms swabs and urine cups will be available and you choose where you need to test
- Follow the instructions posted in the washroom stall to collect your sample(s) (you do it yourself)
- You will be given 2 sample labels, if you need a 3rd, just ask us!
- You will label and drop your samples to a nurse, or at the drop off table for mobile clinics.
- If your result is positive, you will receive notification from the Student Health & Wellness Centre and be invited back for a confidential appointment to discuss treatment.
- If your test(s) is negative, we will not contact you. No news is good news.
Treatment can depend on where the STI is detected, so consider routine testing any areas you have had sexual contact, especially when barriers like condoms or dental dams are not used.
Can’t attend a mobile clinic and/or located in Truro?
Drop by one of Dal's health clinics to get tested by a nurse or book an appointment.
If you require anal swabbing or bloodwork for Hep C, syphilis or HIV, or confirmatory bloodwork from a positive HIV self-test kit, a doctor’s visit is required. Please book an appointment with a doctor at one of Dal's health clinics.
Is it covered by my insurance?
STI screening at the Centre by a physician is covered by most health plans.
*If you have a Canadian provincial health card, testing is covered by your province. You must have your health card with you to register for the STI clinic, otherwise we are unable to process the request.
If you are an international student or have private health care coverage, please contact your provider PRIOR to attending the clinics to ensure appropriate coverage. Please be aware that if you are not covered by your health plan, you may be sent a bill from the laboratory.
DSU International Student Health Plan covers 2 elective tests per year. If you feel you need additional STI testing or have been exposed to an STI, and you’ve used your 2 tests already, book a Nurse or Doctors appointment!
Why should I get tested?
The majority of STIs are asymptomatic, which means that there are no signs or symptoms, but there are possible consequences, including:
- Outbreaks, Sores, Scarring
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Blood vessel, heart, eye or brain damage
- Increased risk of acquiring HPV
- Increased risk of cancer
Note: A Pap test is not the same thing as an STI check. You will need to book an appointment with a doctor if you want just a Pap test, or if you want both a Pap and STI check.
You can book a nursing appointment or visit a mobile STI Screening Clinic for just an STI test. Typically, we do STI tests with all Paps, but you can always have just one of these tests if you’d prefer.
Student Health & Wellness Centre in Halifax and Health Services in Truro can provide requisitions for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis through blood work in locations across Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). They are antibody tests. This means that they measure your immune system’s response to the virus, not the virus itself.
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, you should book an appointment to get tested after the potential exposure (e.g., unprotected vaginal or anal sex; unsafe tattooing; sharing equipment for IV drug use; sharing other drug paraphernalia such as straws/bills/crack pipes, etc.).
If you think you may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and/or syphilis, you should book an appointment to get tested after the potential exposure. Even if your test is negative, it may be a good idea to come back for follow-up testing as these viruses/bacteria can take longer than 4 weeks to cause changes in your body that we can measure.
Testing for blood-borne pathogens (HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis) without previous risk (baseline testing) can be done at any time.
What We Cannot Test For
Currently, there is no blood test available in Nova Scotia to detect human papillomavirus (HPV – the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer).
Pap tests screen for cervical cell changes that can be caused by strains of HPV. Therefore, if someone has abnormal Pap test results, it is a good indication that they are carrying a strain of HPV. Currently, in Nova Scotia, we do not offer testing to detect early cell changes in the anus/rectum or throat caused by HPV.
HPV can be diagnosed visually (warts), but clients need to have a symptom in order to be diagnosed by a doctor. Anyone who ever notices any unusual lumps, bumps, blisters, etc. on their genitals should call their family doctor or our clinic to arrange an appointment as soon as possible.
If someone has symptoms of herpes simplex virus (HSV), such as genital blisters or a cold sore, we can swab it and send the sample to the lab for confirmation. However, there is no blood test available in Nova Scotia to detect HSV. In other words, if you do not have any symptoms, we are unable to do any testing that would allow us to tell you whether or not you are carrying the virus.