FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is your clinic a drop-in?
Yes it is – but our spots are limited, so you should come early on clinic days, which are Monday to Thursday. We do not have a doctor on Fridays, although the clinic is opening for counselling, birth control sales (if you have an existing prescription at our Centre) and pregnancy tests.
What languages are spoken at the clinic?
We have counsellors who speak Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Urdu/Hindi and Tagalog. We welcome clients from all communities as well.
Do I need an OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Premium) card to come to the clinic?
If you have an OHIP card or Interim Federal Health papers – meaning you are a refugee claimant – you must bring these documents. If you do not have any papers, you can still come to our clinic.
Are your services free of charge?
Yes, all of our services at our clinic are free. IWHC Toronto covers the cost of services who do not have an OHIP card or Interim Federal Health papers. Birth control and antibiotics are sold at minimal cost. Referrals to medical services or diagnostic testing done outside of IWHC Toronto may require payment, which is not covered by IWHC Toronto.
Are the services age-limited?
No. We will see any woman who is sexually active and at risk for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Are the doctors in your clinic female?
Yes, all the doctors at IWHC Toronto are women.
Are the doctors in your clinic gynecologists?
No, they are family doctors. If there is a need, they will refer you to a gynecologist.
Does the clinic provide services other than sexual & reproductive health?
Are test results sent to my family doctor automatically?
No. IWHC Toronto follows the Province of Ontario’s Medical Privacy law (PHIPA). If you want your results forwarded to another healthcare provider, you must sign a request form at his/her office. Once they send us the signed form, we will release the information to your healthcare provider. Please note that all result test results performed by the Ministry of Ontario Public Health Labs are available province-wide to authorized health care providers. If you wish to restrict access to your results please indicate that to your counsellor at your clinic visit; you will be required to sign forms to do this. For more information on the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS), please visit their website at https://www.ehealthontario.on.ca/for-healthcare-professionals/ontario-laboratories-information-system-olis.
Can I have a pregnancy test without an appointment?
Yes. You can come for a urine pregnancy test anytime after one week of missing your period. You will receive the results within 15 minutes.
Does your clinic do abortions or provide prenatal care?
No. We do not provide abortions and we do not provide pre-natal care. But we can refer you to the appropriate service.
I don’t want to get pregnant, but I had unprotected sex – what can I do?
You can come to our clinic to buy the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP/Plan B) at our clinic for a low cost – PLEASE NOTE: you must come within 72 hours from when you had unprotected sex. While the ECP usually works in most cases, we cannot guarantee that it will be effective. If we are closed or you cannot come to our clinic, you may also purchase the ECP from a regular pharmacy but it will cost more.
Will continuous use of birth control/I.U.D./Depo Provera cause any problems if I am trying to get pregnant and start a family in the future?
Not usually, but please call and speak with one of our counsellors to discuss the risk with your method of birth control.
Can I use the birth control pill continuously (without a break) to avoid having my period? Is it okay to do that or will there be any health effects?
Yes, you can use your birth control pill continuously to avoid having your period; however, it is best to do this only after talking to your healthcare provider. Although hormonal birth control is very effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy, there is a small chance that you may still get pregnant. If you are not having monthly withdrawal bleeding – your periods – you will not know if you become pregnant. Talk to your healthcare practitioner before deciding to take your pill continuously to make sure it is a safe option for you.
How do I purchase birth control from your clinic?
In order to purchase birth control, you must have a prescription from one of our doctors at IWHC Toronto; once you have that prescription, you can buy your birth control at our clinic at a low cost. If you decide to take your prescription to another dispensary, we will not sell you pills from our clinic, so you must continue to buy them there. We do not fill prescriptions from other doctors.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
How can I get an STI test?
Just drop in/walk in during clinic hours for STI testing. We offer tests for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Trichomonas, Hepatitis B and HIV. All testing and results are confidential; we do not offer rapid HIV testing, but do offer nominal HIV testing.
What happens if I have a STI?
You will be contacted immediately and a course of treatment and counseling will be offered for you and your partner.
Can I find out when I contracted an STI?
No. The test can only tell you whether you are positive or negative for the STIs; it cannot tell you when you contracted them.
How can I get an HIV test?
We provide nominal HIV testing at IWHC; this means that your first and last name will be used to identify your sample and result. We do not provide anonymous testing or rapid testing, but can refer you to other clinics that do anonymous testing if you wish.
If you still wish to have an HIV test at our Centre, a blood sample will be taken and sent it to the lab; results take approximately 2 weeks and are given in person since they are confidential. HIV results are not given over the phone.
Where can I get anonymous/rapid HIV testing?
We do not offer anonymous or rapid HIV test.
Can I come to the Centre to get a Hepatitis B Vaccine?
Yes, but in order to get the Hepatitis B Vaccine you must do ONE of the following:
a) Bring previous test results showing that you are not immune to Hepatitis B; OR
b) Come to have a Hepatitis B screening test done here at the Centre. Please be advised that this involves taking a blood test.
Do I need a Pap test if I have never been sexually active?
No, if you have not had any vaginal sexual activity (i.e. vaginal intercourse, vaginal/oral and/or vaginal/digital sexual activity) you are not at risk for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which cause cervical cancer in women. If you have never had any kind of sexual contact, your risk is low.
When do I have to start having Pap tests done?
Within the first 3 years of becoming sexually active.(i.e., vaginal intercourse, vaginal/oral and/or vaginal/digital sexual activity). In the province of Ontario women are directed to have pap test after the age of 21 (if you have any concerns, please talk to your counsellor).
Do I need a Pap test if I haven’t had sex in many years?
Yes. The risk of cancer develops even if you have only been sexually active once in your life.
Do I need a Pap test if I have never had sex with a man?
Since we cannot fully know the sexual history of all your partners, there may be a risk of contracting HPV. For more information, visit www.hpvinfo.ca
Do I need a Pap test if I had a hysterectomy?
Each case is unique. If your cervix was removed, you may not require a Pap test. If you had an abnormal Pap test before the hysterectomy or do not know if you have a cervix, we recommend you come in and talk with one of our doctors.
Do I need a Pap test if I am menopausal (no periods for a 1 year period)?
If you are sexually active, you need to have a Pap test every year, regardless of age or state of menopause. You can stop having Pap tests done after the age of 70 if you have had normal Pap tests in the previous 10 years and have never had a history of abnormal pap test results.