Alberta Health Officials Concerned with Ongoing High Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Health officials in Alberta say they are very concerned with the ongoing high rates of sexually transmitted infections in the province.

The provincial government is increasing testing and raising awareness about sexually transmitted infections in the face of continued outbreak levels of syphilis and gonorrhea. In the first ten months of the year, there have been more than 3,869 cases of gonorrhea (already more than last year's total of 3,707) and 369 cases of infectious syphilis. Last year's total cases of infectious syphilis totalled 410. There have also been 13,959 cases of chlamydia. Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Health, Dr. Leena Hinshaw, says six cases of congenital syphilis, where a pregnant woman passes on the infection to her unborn child, have also been reported this year. There have been confirmed and three were probable though mothers and babies were all treated for syphilis. She says before these cases, there was a single probable case of congenital syphilis in December 2015 and one confirmed in 2011. Hinshaw says the rising number of congenital syphilis cases as well as the ongoing high rates of other STIs in the province is very concerning. She says everyone has a role to play in solving this issue, adding Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services will be working together to raise awareness about the importance of safe-sex practices as well as regular STI testing which includes universal syphilis screening for all pregnant women. -Tina Giesbrecht
Dr. Leena Hinshaw

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