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Health authorities say the rate of STIs is on the rise in Alberta
Published Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:36AM MST
Alberta Health Services says there are more cases of sexually transmitted infections this year and hopes that more funding will curb the issue.
According to data released on Tuesday, STIs like gonorrhea and syphilis are rising.
Officials say there are 3,900 cases of gonorrhea, up from 3,700 in 2016. They add that Alberta is on pace to surpass 2016’s 410 syphilis cases as well.
Six of the cases of syphilis are reported to be infants born with the disease.
Meanwhile, HIV is steady at 210 new cases and chlamydia cases are dropping.
To help push back, the province says it is providing $18.5M in funding to help organizations that serve groups that are vulnerable to contracting STIs, such as street youth and the homeless.
In that plan, AHS says it is coordinating care with pregnant women and their babies to screen for those diseases and protect them.
The province also says it will be covering the cost of the HPV vaccine for homosexual men and transgender women between the ages of 17 to 26.
As for the spike itself, officials say there are many more causes for STIs these days.
“We now have hook up sites, so people can hook up with each other and we know a lot of this sex is anonymous since people can’t tell us the identities of their partners once diagnosed so that makes it difficult to follow up on so there are a lot of underlying social changes,” said Dr. Gerry Predy with the Alberta Health Services.
Young people aged 15 to 26 continue to have the highest rate of STIs and the province says it is providing another $600,000 to Calgary’s Sexual Health Centre for programs designed to decrease the rate of infection and their stigma amongst junior and senior high school students.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)