...I don’t see the difference!

STDs, sexually transmissible diseases, have changed their name. Now they’re called sexually transmissible infections (STIs). The word “infection” is more appropriate because it implies that symptoms may or may not be present. The word “disease” is associated with symptoms being present. So, someone with an STI does not necessarily feel sick yet can transmit the infection.

The term “sexually transmissible and blood-borne infections (STBBI)” is used to designate infections that are sexually transmitted or transmitted through the blood.

STBBIs and modes of transmission

Infection Modes of transmission
Chlamydia Sexual
Gonorrhoea Sexual
Hepatitis B Sexual and blood-borne
Hepatitis C Blood-borne
Genital herpes Sexual and skin-to-skin contact
Crab lice and scabies Sexual and bedding
Syphilis Sexual and blood-borne
Trichomoniasis Sexual
Vaginitis None (caused by a change in vaginal flora)
HIV/AIDS Sexual and blood-borne
Human papillomavirus (HPV) Sexual and skin-to-skin contact

3 rules to avoid STI

  1. Don’t trust appearances.

    Even if the person opposite you looks “OK” and “clean”, doesn’t look like he or she has any symptoms, has been known to you for a long time, is loved by you or has already had intercourse with you, there is still a risk.

  2. Always use a condom. 

    Affordable, discrete, easy to use and very effective... condoms offer the best protection from STIs. For it to be effective, a condom must be used from start to finish of sexual intercourse.

    Are you using it the way you should? Check that this is the case by looking over the instructions.

  3. Before you stop using a condom, have a screening test done.

    The only way to know whether you have an STI is to have a screening test done. To find the screening clinic nearest to you, call Info-Santé 8-1-1 or ask your school or CLSC nurse.

If I had an STBBI, I’d know

You probably wouldn’t notice by yourself that you had an STBBI because most infected persons show no symptoms. Just because someone doesn’t show any symptoms doesn’t mean that they haven’t got an infection. Someone with the infection can transmit it without even knowing that they’re infected.

Many people don’t know that they are infected. This is true of:

  • 9 persons in 10 who have genital herpes;
  • 9 persons in 10 who have HPV;
  • 3 persons in 4 who have chlamydia;
  • 1 person in 5 who has HIV;
  • 1 person in 5 who has the hepatitis C virus;

Even without symptoms, the infection can damage your health.

STBBIs are rare at my age

STBBIs are strongly on the increase everywhere in Quebec particularly among young people between 15 and 24 years old. If so much is being said about it to young people, it’s because they have their first experience of sexual intercourse in this period of their lives. You should also realize that there is no given age to contract an STBBI.

Young people between 15 and 24 years of age represent 66% of declared cases of chlamydia and 47% of declared cases of gonorrhoea in Quebec. At this age, girls are the most affected by these infections.

There aren’t really any STBBIs in Quebec

Actually, the number of declared cases of STBBIs is constantly increasing, everywhere in Quebec, to the point where we’re now talking about a true epidemic.

In Quebec:

  • 40,000 people are diagnosed with STBBIs every year;
  • 1 person in 5 is infected with genital herpes;
  • 3 people out of 4 will at some time or other in their lives be infected by HPV;
  • There are twice as many declared cases of chlamydia than in 1997;
  • For 10 years, the number of declared cases of gonorrhoea has increased by 200%.

These figures are much lower than the number of actual cases because they only represent people who have been diagnosed with an STBBI by a doctor.

Many persons infected with an STBBI don’t know that they are infected because they do not show any symptoms. They can therefore transmit infections without knowing it.

In terms of figures :

75 % of those infected with chlamydia don’t know they are

Getting help

To get a screening test

  • Call Info-Santé 8-1-1
  • Talk it over with the nurse in your school or CLSC
  • Talk it over with your doctor


For any
other question

Consult Tel-jeunes

Tel-Jeunes Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux