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STIs on the rise in Simcoe Muskoka

May 12, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Sex and sexuality are an important aspect of health and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is reminding people that it is essential to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and get tested if you think you may have one.

The Health unit has seen a significant increase in STIs in Simcoe Muskoka over the period of 2019 to 2021. This includes a four to five times increase in the annual number of reported cases of syphilis.

Prior to 2019, the number of cases of syphilis in the region averaged less than ten case per year. This rose to 50 cases in 2021.

At the same time the number of cases of gonorrhea reported grew from 120 in 2020, to 265 in 2021.

“The increasing cases of STIs is a disturbing trend that we are seeing not only locally, but across the province as well,” said SMDHU Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Colin Lee. “It is important to keep in mind that access to health care during the pandemic has been limited and the number of cases may be higher than we realize. Many STIs can go undiagnosed as people don’t always show symptoms or people don’t recognize that the symptom is due to an STI and the only way to know is to get tested.”

The health unit strongly encourages anyone who has has a new partner or multiple partners in the last two years, or has symptoms of an STI, to contact their health-care provider, a walk-in clinic, or the Gilbert Centre InclusHIV Care clinic to ask about STI testing.

Testing for STIs can include a urine test for chlamydia and gonorrhea and a blood test for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and C, depending on risk factors.

Most STIs can be treated with free medication that can be accessed through your health-care provider.

By Brian Lockhart


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