Saturday, May 28, 2022

Sexually transmitted infections on the rise in Simcoe Muskoka, says health unit – Barry | Nation World News

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is warning the public that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise in the region.

In a press release on Wednesday, SMDHU said the health unit saw a “significant increase” in STIs in Simcoe Muskoka from 2019 to 2021, “including a four- to five-fold increase in the annual number of reported cases of syphilis.”

The health unit said that before 2019, the region would have an average of less than 10 cases per year. However, in 2021 this number increased to 50 cases.

SMDHU said the number of gonorrhea cases rose to 265 in 2021, up from 120 reported in 2020.

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“The rising incidence of STIs is a disturbing trend that we are seeing not only at the local level, but across the province as well,” Dr. Colin Lee, SMDHU’s associate medical officer of health, said in the release. “It is important to note that access to health care has been limited during the pandemic and the number of cases may be greater than we realize.”

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Lee said many STIs can go undiagnosed “because 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.”

Anyone who is sexually active, has a new partner, or has had multiple partners in the past two years should contact their health care provider to ask about STI testing.

The health unit said that people who have unprotected sex or who have symptoms of an STI should also contact a health care provider regarding testing.

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“Testing for STIs may include a urine test for chlamydia and gonorrhea and a blood test for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and C, depending on risk factors,” the release reads.

The health unit said most STIs can be treated with free medication that can be accessed through a health care provider.

More information about STIs can be found on the health unit’s website or by calling 705-721-7520 and pressing 3 to speak with a sexual health public health nurse.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Nation World News Desk
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