Grande Prairie is number one when it comes to chlamydia rates in Alberta’s major cities. It had the highest rate in 2014, and the number of cases went up nearly six per cent to 471 in 2015.
Syphilis cases increased 500 per cent from 1 to 6, and reports of gonorrhea nearly doubled from 38 to 71. Chief Medical Officer of Health Doctor Karen Grimsrud says they’re seeing this kind of spike across the province.
“There’s been sort of a gradual increase, probably since 2010-2011. So the 2015 figures represent about an 80 per cent increase from what we’ve seen in previous years, and we really haven’t seen those kinds of numbers since the late 1980s.”
STI rates have reached outbreak levels in Alberta, which Chief Medical Officer of Health Doctor Karen Grimsrud partially attributes to social media.
“For making these quick, anonymous contacts for sexual encounters that can’t be traced back. It almost makes it difficult for Public Health trying to determine who may have been exposed when you’re not able to have the information that we usually would have.”
Doctor Grimsrud stresses the importance of getting tested before engaging with a new sexual partner. She adds that the risk of getting infected increases if having anonymous or unprotected sex.