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HPEPH Offering Self-Serve Gonorrhea Testing in Response to Current Outbreak

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/June 15, 2020 – Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (HPEC) are currently experiencing higher than normal rates of gonorrhea. Between January to May of this year, 26 cases of gonorrhea have been reported in HPEC, compared to 15 cases over the same time last year. In response, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has declared a gonorrhea outbreak in our region.  

In HPEC, the rate of gonorrhea has been steadily rising over each of the past five years. Almost all recently reported infections were among individuals between the ages of 30 and 49. Since over 50% of men and woman will not have symptoms of gonorrhea, they will not know they have the infection unless they are tested.

Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) after chlamydia. The infection is spread through unprotected oral, vaginal and anal sex with a partner who is already infected. Sharing sex toys can also spread infection.

If you have had unprotected sex, get tested – even if you don’t have any symptoms. As part of HPEPH’s adjusted service delivery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, self-serve testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia is now available at all offices for individuals who do not currently have symptoms. Drop in between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday, to pick up a kit. Testing is simple and confidential.

If you are engaging in unprotected sexual activity with new partners, protect yourself to prevent the spread of infection by using a condom or dental dam. If you’ve had unprotected sex, have a new partner, or have more than one partner, get tested.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gonorrhea or any STI, a medical assessment is required. Visit your health care provider for assessment; if you do not have a health care provider, visit a walk-in clinic. For more information about STIs, visit our website or call the HPEPH Sexual Health Team at 613-966-5500, extension 418.

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Media Contacts:

Veronica Montgomery, Foundational Standards Manager
vmontgomery@hpeph.ca

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca  

About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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We are gradually resuming in-person services at HPEPH by appointment only at this time.  Please review our Service Interruptions page for more information.

All program lines and the COVID-19 information line operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (excluding statutory holidays).

To assist us with our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we ask anyone visiting the office for an appointment to:

  • bring a non-medical mask, physical distancing may not be possible during your appointment
  • maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres, both inside and outside the office
  • review symptoms of COVID-19, and reschedule your appointment if you have symptoms of the virus, or any other illness
  • reschedule your appointment if a family member or other close contact is ill
  • use accessible buttons to open doors, instead of handles
  • use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting the building

We have made additional changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are visiting our office for an appointment, you can be confident that we are:

  • increasing our cleaning, in alignment with heightened infection control protocols
  • considering alternatives to in-person appointments and meetings when possible
  • screening staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19
  • offering in-person services by appointment only to reduce traffic in office
  • ensuring staff wear masks and/or other protective equipment when seeing clients

Please continue to our website for more information about our programs and services.