Teenagers and young adults are at highest risk
The incidence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Saskatchewan and the Cypress Health Region have been increasing over a number of years, prompting awareness campaigns and harm reduction strategies.
STIs are spread through the exchange of body fluids, most especially blood and genital fluids, or by direct contact with an infected body part. Individuals infected with STIs may at times not have symptoms and may have an infection for a long time before being diagnosed. While most STIs can be treated, some can only be controlled. If left untreated, STIs can lead to a number of long-term health problems/complications.
Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer for the Cypress Health Region explains that it’s important for the public to be aware of STI activity in the Cypress Health Region.
“Our data monitoring tools indicate that chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the Cypress Health Region. Teenagers and young adults in our region account for the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea. These rates are an emerging health issue in our region, especially those in younger age categories.”
Chlamydia rates in Saskatchewan are among the highest in Canada. Over 70% of chlamydia cases in the Cypress Health Region are diagnosed in teenagers and young adults. Although these rates are highest in teenagers and young adults, anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting an STI.
The main risk factors for STIs in the Cypress Health Region include unprotected sex, having multiple and unknown sex partners, alcohol/drug use, having a new partner within the past three months, and having a previous STI. Internet partnering and not using protective measures such as condoms are other risk factors.
Proper testing and treatment are essential. The high rates of STIs suggest that many individuals are potentially at risk of exposure, may not be aware of the risks and may not be using proper protection, further underscoring the need for prevention, education, and harm reduction efforts.
The health region is focused on a series of harm reduction strategies to decrease risk to the public. This includes prompt case management and follow up on reportable communicable diseases, including STIs. The region’s public health professionals also offer prevention strategies and community education on topics such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), other STIs, healthy relationships, and safe sex practices.
For more information about STIs or public health programs and services please visit the Region’s website: https://cypresshealth.ca/programs-services/public-health/public-health-nursing/communicable-disease-prevention-and-management/