Infectious syphilis cases in northern Alberta have gone up a staggering 324 per cent. That’s the highest rise in the province, which has been declared by Alberta Health Services to be under a provincial outbreak.
The AHS North Zone, which includes the region of Grande Prairie, recorded 208 cases of infectious syphilis in 2018. A total of 1,536 cases of infectious syphilis were reported in Alberta in 2018, up from just 161 in 2014.
“We need to emphasize for all Albertans, Sexually Transmitted Infections are a risk to anyone sexually active, particularly people who have new sex partners and are not using protection,” says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
“I encourage anyone sexually active to get tested regularly,” she adds. “Anyone in Alberta can access STI testing and treatment for free.”
In the North Zone, cases of HIV and Chlamydia also went up at a rate 17.2 and 15.4 per cent respectively.
Officials say it is of vital importance that anyone sexually active to not only get tested but to get educated.
“Sexual health is an important part of overall health. We are working with community partners to remove the stigma and increase awareness about STI testing services throughout Alberta,” says Senior Medical Officer of Health Dr. Laura McDougall.
As recently as 2015, Grande Prairie led the province in chlamydia rates in Alberta’s major cities with 471 cases.