Santé Montréal

Festival Health Guide

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Large gatherings can lead to close contact between people and, in turn, outbreaks of certain infections. Keeping in mind that…

  • unprotected sex can lead to the spread of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), including syphilis and HIV,
  • certain sexual practices can lead to the spread of hepatitis A and gastrointestinal illnesses, including shigellosis,
  • the Word Health Organization (WHO) has observed an increase in cases of hepatitis A among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (particularly in Europe and the Americas),

… the Direction régionale de santé publique of Montréal invites festival-goers to take the following precautions.

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When to Consult

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Protection and prevention

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
  • Get screened for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), including HIV and hepatitis (and get treatment if you are infected).
  • If you are living with HIV, ask your doctor about the effectiveness of your treatment, especially for your viral load.
  • Learn about preventive measures known to effectively reduce the risk of contracting an STBBI (such as condoms, lubricants and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)).
  • See a doctor for PrEP information and a prescription, if necessary.
  • Be prepared by bringing your own supply of condoms, lubricants and prophylaxis (Lubricated condoms are available at most social gatherings and venues and are available free of charge at establishments that adhere to the Charte OK and at community organizations such as ACCM, Kontak, Maison Plein Cœur and RÉZO).
  • Identify your personal limits when it comes to sex and your use of drugs and alcohol during the event, and how to make sure you don't exceed them.
  • Get health insurance coverage in case of an emergency consultation with a physician and keep your prescribed medication with you if you are visiting Montréal.

  • If you are worried about your health or if you are experiencing difficulties or distress, call 811 for advice.
  • For any EMERGENCY (when you need immediate help), call 911.
  • If you use alcohol or drugs, adopt low-risk practices: control the amount you consume, avoid mixing drugs and alcohol, bring your own drug-use material, etc.
  • Stay close to your friends, in case you need assistance.
  • Consider combined prevention (condoms are still one of the safest ways to avoid HIV and other STBBIs) and take your anti-HIV medications as prescribed (whether it's for controlling viral load in HIV-positive people or the prevention of HIV (PrEP) in people who are HIV-negative).
  • To reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis A, shigellosis or other gastrointestinal illnesses resulting from contacts between the mouth and anus:

    • Use a dental dam for oro-anal sex (rimming)
    • Wear a latex glove when practicing fisting
    • Wash your genitals, anus and hands before and after having sex
    • Avoid having sex when you have diarrhea

  • If you feel you did something that put you at risk of contracting HIV, consult a physician promptly (within 72 hours) for an assessment and a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) prescription.
  • If you have any STBBI symptoms (such as penile or anal discharge, pain while urinating and/or an ulcer), avoid sexual intercourse and seek prompt attention from a health professional.
  • On hot sunny days, hydrate and protect yourself from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing, covering your head and applying sunscreen.

  • Get screened for STBBIs, including HIV and hepatitis, if you have been sexually active during the event, regardless of the type of relations you have had and even if you have no symptoms.
  • Promptly notify all partners in the event of a positive STBBI screening test result (there are ways to anonymously contact your partners if you wish — talk to your healthcare professional about it).
  • After an emotionally charged event, it is common to feel down. If you need to speak with someone, do not hesitate to contact a health professional, helpline or community organization in your area.
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Risk factors

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Help and Resources

HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

STBBI screening and treatment 

Drug information 

Information or sterile material for drug use

KONTAK or 438-881-SEXE (7393)

Community organizations

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People at Risk

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Dernière mise à jour le : 1969.12.31