Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/November 3, 2020 – Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (HPEC) continue to experience higher than usual rates of gonorrhea. In June 2020, HPEPH declared an outbreak of gonorrhea in the region, and the area continues to be in outbreak status. Between January to September of this year, 48 cases of gonorrhea have been reported in HPEC, compared to 35 cases overall in 2019. In addition, local rates of syphilis and HIV are also increasing.
Many people have STIs and don’t know it, which means they could pass it on to you or others. Talk to your partner(s) about their sexual history and get a test. If one individual is engaging in sexual activities outside of a relationship, they could pass STIs on. STIs can be spread through unprotected oral, vaginal and anal sex with a partner who is already infected. Sharing sex toys can also spread infection.
“Anyone who is having unprotected sex could be at risk of STIs and should consider getting tested regardless of age, sex, or relationship status” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “The best way to prevent any type of STI is to use a condom or other type of barrier protection every time, unless you are sure of your partner’s status and your own.”
STIs can cause serious health problems, including infertility, if not treated properly. If you have had unprotected sex, have a new partner, or have more than one partner, it is important to know your STI status. To know your status and protect yourself or others, get tested, even if you don’t have any symptoms. To get tested for STIs visit your health care provider or a walk-in clinic.
Over the coming weeks, HPEPH will be working to raise awareness of local gonorrhea rates and the importance of getting tested and using condoms with the hashtag #GetTested.
For more information about STIs, visit our website or call the HPEPH Sexual Health Team at 613-966-5500, extension 243
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
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.