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Gerry Predy (left/Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services) provided an update on sexually transmitted infection rates in Alberta on April 26, 2016 and outlined the programs and services to reach at-risk Albertans.
The number of Albertans afflicted with infectious syphilis and gonorrhea has risen again, a year after the provincial government warned of “outbreak levels” for the sexually transmitted infections in the province.
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Infectious syphilis cases rose from 363 to 405 in 2016, a rate of 9.52 per 100,000 population compared to 8.68 a year earlier. but, obviously, no we haven’t,” she said in an interview.“Of course it is frustrating.
A sharp increase that saw infectious syphilis rates more than double and gonorrhea rise by 80 per cent between 20 prompted the government to sound the alarm over the situation just over a year ago. Karen Grimsrud, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said this week that while the rate of increase in STIs levelled off in 2016, the numbers show that “we’re continuing to be in an outbreak.”“I was hopeful that we might see some decline in the number of cases . So it leads us to look at different ideas of what we can do to take a more targeted approach.”The government said last year it believed the spike in STI rates stemmed in part from the prevalence of hook-up culture and the growing use of online social media to facilitate casual sex.
More than three-quarters of the infectious syphilis incidents are among men having sex with men.
There is also significant overlap between cases of syphilis and HIV.
HIV, if untreated, can lead to AIDS.“People often joke about STIs and don’t think they are anything serious,” said Predy.“There’s a whole host of consequences that can be serious, but I think part of the challenge is just convincing people they should be tested and treated.” The provincial statistics show that Calgary saw a significant increase in STI cases, with gonorrhea numbers jumping from 651 in 2015 to 892 in 2016, while infectious syphilis cases rose from 122 to 177.It’s time for Calgary to have its own lifelong learners association! Karen Grimsrud (right/Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health) and Dr.Grimsrud said that while the province focused on getting its message out to the broad public last year, it will now focus more on at-risk groups in its actions.About 50 per cent of the cases of gonorrhea are among indigenous women.