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Accessing Sexual Health Resources in the Pandemic

This post rounds up a few of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting since the start of the pandemic. If you have a question that’s not here, please ask! Check out our Contact Us page for our hours and contact info.

Are abortion clinics still open?

Yes! Abortion clinics in the GTA are still open and still seeing patients. Some may have new procedures in place because of the pandemic (like not allowing clients to bring support people inside the clinic) but that could be different depending on the clinic. Many are choosing to do screening at the door, so they’ll ask you a few questions and take your temperature. If there are any concerns that you may be positive for COVID-19 (like having symptoms or confirmed exposure) you may be referred to a hospital to be tested or have the procedure done there.

Some clinics (like Choice in Health and Planned Parenthood Toronto) have launched remote appointments for getting a medical abortion. In this case, first they would have a phone/virtual appointment to assess health concerns. Then, if there are no issues, they can courier the abortion pill to your house and do a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks.

It is always recommended that you call the clinic directly to get the most up-to-date info on new policies and procedures. Check out our page with contact info for abortion clinics in the GTA here: Abortion Providers in the GTA

Are health clinics still open?

Yes! Many are still open. If you’re unable to contact your regular family doctor, there are still many walk-in clinics operating with updated pandemic procedures. Some clinics, like Planned Parenthood Toronto, have moved to largely providing service remotely, with people only going into the clinic if they need testing or a direct exam. For some places, they’ll only do things like STI testing if someone is showing symptoms or has had confirmed contact with someone who has an STI, so you might not be able to get in if you’re just doing routine screening. Best to call ahead!

Clinics are also able to send prescriptions directly to pharmacies, so you can pick whichever location is easiest for you to access to get medications. Please get in touch with us if you want help finding a clinic nearer to where you live.

How do I do a pregnancy test if I can’t leave the house?

The only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant or not is either get your period (which means you’re not pregnant) or do a medically-approved pregnancy test. There’s lots of info online about DIY tests (like the salt test or the toothpaste test) but none of these are considered scientifically accurate and would still need to be confirmed by a medically-approved test.

So that said, if you’re not able to leave the house to get a pregnancy test, are you able to order one online? Or do you have a friend or partner that you could pick one up for you? If there isn’t a clinic or a pharmacy nearby where someone can pick-up a test, they’re often available at dollar stores or corner stores as well.

Check out Are Pregnancy Tests Accurate to learn more.

How can I have a sex life when I live with other people?

If you live with family or roommates, it can definitely be more difficult to find space or privacy to explore different kinds of sexual experiences. Definitely check out our post Sex At Home When You Don’t Live Alone for some helpful tips. If you’re wanting to explore meeting new sexual partners, that might need to be a larger conversation with the people you live with around risk management and safety. While everyone is encouraged to make their own decisions about risk and their health, that gets a bit trickier when you share space with other people.

NOTE
Lots of public health agencies and community orgs have been putting together Safer Sex guides for people who are hooking up during the pandemic. Check out some of this great stuff, like:

How do I get lube if everywhere is closed?

Even if some stores are closed, many places are doing curbside pickup or online orders. Lube is also available at lots of pharmacies, and even for free at some clinics.

Also, we recommend checking out our site for the DIY Lube article!

If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]