Swabbing 101

Canadian guidelines for proper PrEP care recommend throat and rectal swabs. We’ll help you get the right tests in the right places.

Does your PrEP Care include throat and rectal swabs?

Over 80% of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections are missed by relying on just urine and blood lab testing, but Canadian guidelines for proper PrEP care recommend swabbing all sites at risk. This includes offering throat and rectal swabs – every time. 

We’ve had many people switch to our clinic who were not doing swabs – only to find out they had things like rectal chlamydia all along.

Swabs are essential if you are performing oral sex and/or bottoming during anal sex. Without this test you will have false confidence of your STI status and it leads to spread within the community.

Sexual Health Swabs

Why is urine testing not enough?

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are two common sexually transmitted bacterial infections. These infections can be found in the penis, vagina, throat, or rectum.

A urine test only checks one specific part of your body and doesn’t tell you if the bacteria is at the other sites. And blood testing doesn’t check for gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Who should get swabbed?

If you are performing oral sex or bottoming during anal sex, you should be completing throat and/or rectal swabs. Heteronormative care providers may not offer these. 

As the only online PrEP service that is actually LGBTQ+ owned and operated we make sure you get all the right tests in all the right places.

Can I have an STI and not know?

A person can test negative in their urine but still have gonorrhea or chlamydia in their throat – or in their rectum. 

Sometimes people don’t even have symptoms in those parts of the body so they can pass it on to other people without realizing. The only way to know for sure is to get a throat and rectal swab. 

For >80% of patients who show these infections in their swabs, it does not appear in their urine test result and would be missed. Unfortunately, not swabbing leads to missed diagnoses and false confidence of your STI status. This all increases the spread. 

Does The PrEP Clinic provide throat and rectal swabs?

Since opening Ontario’s first online PrEP service in 2019 we have always included swabs in routine labs

Labs in Ontario do not offer these specific swabs but they do accept them after self-collection. We automatically provide swabs to our patients every 3 months with their routine PrEP labs anywhere in Ontario. We also offer them during on-site testing at our in-person locations as well. 

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