Getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) test can be intimidating and scary. But, remember the people who do the tests do them every day and have a lot of practice. They know how to support you, and nothing you can say will shock them! Testing can help you spot an STI early. This makes it easier to cure or manage. It can also be less scary to be sure about your status!
If you’re 12 – 25, Head and Hands is a great, understanding place to go for any healthcare and STI testing. Youth ages 6-24 can go to Clinique Jeunesse de Pointe-Saint-Charles. And young people ages 14-25 can also go to Clinique jeunesse du CLSC Sainte-Catherine. See below for more about each clinic, their phone numbers, maps, and their websites.
Whatever your age, you can call 8-1-1 to find a clinic near you that does testing. 8-1-1 is Info-Sante, where you can talk to a trained nurse to find a clinic or learn about any medical issues. If you have Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec or “RAMQ”, testing at most Local Community Service Centres (CLSCs) is free. Most other provincial or private insurance will pay you back later.
Will my parents find out if I get tested?
If you’re under 14, most clinics will tell your parents or guardians if you get tested. If you’re 12 or 13, you can still go to some clinics like Head and Hands anonymously. Since they won’t have your name, they won’t have any way of telling your parents.
If you’re 14 and over, clinics can’t tell your parents about STI testing. But, if you use your parents’ private insurance, a test may show up on the bill. Sometimes, parents will see charges like this and know you got tested.
Is STI testing free?
Yes! With RAMQ provincial insurance, any STI testing is free at many CLSCs and clinics!
Some universities offer free testing through Health Services to their students. This includes international students! International students can also get tested at clinics. But, they might need to pay upfront.
The same is true for people with insurance from other Canadian provinces. Some clinics can charge your home province directly. If you’re under 26, you can bring your provincial health card to Head and Hands near Vendome. At any age, you can go to the St. Mary’s Hospital Centre near Cotes-des-Neiges metro.
Not a Canadian resident?
Many clinics in Montreal will give treatment or testing. Unfortunately, you will likely need to pay upfront for testing. But if you have international insurance you may be able to get part, or all, of your money back, as long as you get a receipt.
If you don’t have coverage because of your immigration status, Doctors of the World may be able to help you. They give free consultations and testing for immigrants without coverage. You can call them at (514) 281-8998 extension 246 or drop in Thursdays from 1–4 pm.
If you’re 12 – 25, you can also go to the free clinics we mentioned above, which don’t need insurance!
Getting rapid HIV testing
Rapid HIV testing is a kind of test that only takes a few minutes to get the results. Clinique Opus near Peel metro has it for a cost with RAMQ medicare. So does Clinique la Licorne near Berri-UQUAM. SIDEP+ near Papineau metro has rapid testing for free. But they only see men who have sex with men (MSM), trans or non-binary people, and sex workers.
If you can wait 2 weeks to get your results, Head and Hands offers free and anonymous testing for people ages 12-25. Check out the resource below for more about them!
Most clinics try to be open and progressive. Some train their staff to make sure they’re aware of LGBTQ values and language. This can make things easier for some people!
If you’re 13 – 25, Head and Hands have an inclusive, non-judgmental and queer-positive environment. They also have a safer space statement, which says they’re committed to “creating an inclusive space regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and body size.”
Clinics for men who have sex with men
Rézo is a gay and bisexual men’s health organization. They offer free, anonymous testing for HIV and other STIs every Thursday from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm. It’s first come first serve. Arriving a bit earlier can help your chances of getting an appointment. Note that they only test people who identify as MSM.
SIDEP+ near Papineau metro has anonymous testing for free. They only see MSM, trans or non-binary people, and sex workers.
Another option is Clinique Quartier Latin. They’re also open to anyone with symptoms.
Clinics that are open evenings and weekends
L’Actuel lets you make appointments later than many other clinics. It is near the Beaudry metro in the village. For people who have symptoms, they’re also open on the weekends, and you don’t need an appointment.
Clinique Quartier Latin also offers evening and weekend appointments. It is also in the village. But, it is only for MSM and people with symptoms.
Anonymous vs confidential STI testing
Anonymous testing means that nobody at the clinic will know your identity. You usually don’t need to even give your name or a health card. This means there is no way anyone can ever find out about your results.
Other clinics give confidential tests. This means clinics keep your results in your medical records but they keep them private. But if you’re under 14, they can share your results with your parents. This also means that a judge can also ask to see your results if you put other people at risk.
If you’re not sure if the testing you’re getting is anonymous or confidential, you can always ask!
Check out the resources below for more on testing and clinics in Montreal!