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I think I should get tested, but I really don't want a little stick up my dick. Do I have to have that? Are there other tests they can do instead?

We’re glad you asked this question, because there are many people who are scared about what goes on inside an STI testing appointment. I can provide some information that might dispel some myths or fears around testing a penis for sexually transmitted infections. Then the sooner you are tested, the sooner you know your own sexual health status.

The “stick” you are probably thinking of is what we call a urethral swab. In the past, it was used mostly for detecting the presence of gonorrhea and chlamydia. Currently, providers can usually get test results with what they call a “first catch urine sample”. That means if you don’t pee for about an hour before you head into your appointment, when you do finally pee in the cup, the bacteria they’re testing for will be present. They can send the pee sample to the lab and skip the urethral swab all together.

There are less frequent times when a urethral swab may be a better option. This may be when someone can’t pee during their appointment, or if there is need for further investigation into your health status based on your concerns and symptoms.

During a sexual health appointment, you decide which tests you want. A provider will not test you without your permission and can explain the benefits and the methods if you have concerns. This Manitoba STI testing map can help you contact a testing clinician or a walk-in, where you can bring your questions with you and start where you feel comfortable.