Canada: Increase in STDs in Region Alarming -- Officials
October 6, 2010
STD cases have risen in Ottawa and Gatineau in the past 10 years, likely because fewer people are using condoms, health officials there say.
"I think there is a real drop in the use of protection," said Dr. Carol McConnery, a spokesperson for the Outaouais region's public health agency. "There is still magical thinking that it won't happen to me or I am going out with a good guy or girl."
Outaouais used to record about one syphilis case annually before 2001, whereas it logged 11 in 2006 and five in both 2008 and 2009. Chlamydia reports have grown from 469 in 2001 to 865 last year. Gonorrhea cases have more than quintupled, from 21 in 2001 to 106 last year.
In Ottawa, chlamydia figures have grown 52 percent in four years, from 1,328 in 2005 to 2,023 last year. Gonorrhea grew 41 percent during that time, from 154 cases to 217 last year. Syphilis cases more than doubled, from 23 in 2005 to 51 in 2009.
In response, health officials are working with the AIDS Committee of Ottawa to raise syphilis awareness in the city. The public health department also is crafting an intensive STD campaign that will launch within a few months, with an emphasis on free testing and treatment.
"Some people figure that if they have been in a stable relationship for three months that they don't need to use protection any more, or it is their first time so they don't need to use a condom," McConnery said. "Others are sick of hearing the message that they should just say no to sex or use a condom all the time."
10.04.2010; Dave Rogers
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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