The idea of getting STI testing 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 (sexually transmitted infection) 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 and the Teenage Health Unit of the Jewish General Hospital are all great, understanding places to go for any healthcare and STI testing. 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 RAMQ (Quebec’s provincial insurance), testing at most 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, unfortunately, 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, it is possible that a test will show up on the bill. Sometimes, parents will see charges like this, and know you got tested.
To avoid this, if you’re 14 – 17, you have the right to free treatment and testing without insurance. So, just don’t give them any!
Is STI testing free?
Yes! With RAMQ provincial insurance, any STI testing is free at many CLSCs and clinics!
Know that some clinics like l’Actuel and Opus charge for testing.
If you’re a university student, including if you’re an international student, you’ll likely be able to get free testing from your University Health Services.
If you have insurance from another Canadian province or you’re an international student, you can go to clinics to get tested but you might need to pay upfront. 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 Jewish General Hospital 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, Medecin du Monde 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 1–4pm.
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 where you can get tested and wait a few minutes at the clinic to get your results. l’Actuel has confidential* rapid HIV testing. But, you need to make an appointment, they need your name and a healthcare card, and there’s a cost.
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!
While 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 has an inclusive, non-judgmental and queer-positive environment. They also have a safer space statement, that says “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 4pm-7:30pm. It’s first come first serve, so it’s best to arrive a bit earlier.
Note that you must identify as an MSM otherwise you will not be able to get tested.
Another option is the Clinique Quartier Latin, and they’re also open to anyone with symptoms.
Clinics open evenings and weekends
L’Actuel near Beaudry metro in the village lets you make appointments later than many other clinics. For people who have symptoms, they’re also open also open on the weekends, and you don’t need an appointment.
Clinique Quartier Latin, also in the village is only for men who have sex with men and people with symptoms, but they also have evening and weekend appointments.
Anonymous vs confidential 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 private, but they keep it in your medical records. If you’re under 14, it also means they can share it with your parents. A judge can also ask to see them if you put other people at risk.
If you’re not sure if 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!
Head & Hands Health Services
Head & Hands is a health clinic for youth ages 12-25 near the Vendome metro station. They offer free, anonymous STD testing, even if you’re not covered by RAMQ. Head & Hands also has a lot of other services, including medical check ups, getting contraception, transitioning, and more.
They offer a walk-in clinic on most Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 4:45pm. Everyone who comes in for the clinic is given a name card and entered into a draw. At 5:00pm, they draw 10 names to decide who sees the doctor.
They recommend bringing your Medicare card if you have it, but you can still see someone if you don’t have it.
Teenage Health Unit – Jewish General
The Herzl Family Practice Center in Cote Des Neiges. They offer psychotherapy and health care for people ages 12-19.
Testing, Testing – Scarleteen
A detailed look at the methods used for testing different STIs and BBIs.
About Quebec’s Info-Santé service: you can dial 8-1-1 from any Quebec phone number to reach a health professional. It offers answers to common health questions and directs users to the right service in the health and social services network.
This clinic offers STI prevention and treatment services to men who have sex with men. SIDEP+ offers testing, treatment, vaccination, PrEP, and more, as well as support and counselling. You can make appointments online.