January 26, 2004
Elaine Scott, manager of the health unit's adolescent/sexual health program, said chlamydia continues to have the highest incidence rate of the many STDs the unit tracks, affecting people ages 20-24 more than any other age bracket. Since 1991, chlamydia rates dropped from 222.58 per 100,000 in Guelph to 74 per 100,000 in 2000, the latest figures available. In Wellington County over the same time period, the rate rose slightly, going from 25.96 per 100,000 in 1991 to 27.6 per 100,000 in 2000.
The health unit operates free clinics in Guelph, Orangeville, Palmerston and Shelburne and will open one in Fergus on Feb. 4. It also operates Student Wellness Centers at public high schools in the area, allowing students to visit doctors and nurses with any kind of complaint.
"There are two barriers to testing: people either don't want to admit to their family doctor they may have an STD, or they don't want to go where their family goes and could find out," Scott explained. "That's why the clinics are so important. The more cases that are detected, the more cases that are treated. And that's the really important number."