(Dreamstime photo)

Removing the stigma: CDC wants you to talk about sex as STIs continue to surge in B.C.

Social changes, increases testing all contribute to higher STI rates

B.C.’s health officials are warning people to stay protected during sex, as sexually transmitted infection rates continue to rise.

The warning comes on World Sexual Health Day as rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis surge in B.C.

”The trend seeing in B.C. is similar to other provinces and other countries,” said Mark Gilbert, the medical director of clinical prevention services at the BC Centre for Disease Control.

“There’s several reasons and they’re hard to disentangle.”

Gilbert said some of the increase in STI rates comes from changes in sexual behaviours, such as the rise of online dating.

Chlamydia is the most common STI in B.C., according to the CDC, and rose three per cent from 2016 to 2017, up to 15,646 cases. Women are 1.5 times more likely to get diagnosed with chlamydia than men.

Gonorrhea has shot up in recent years, with 3,281 cases in 2017. Rates have been climbing since 2005, but the province saw a 70-per-cent diagnosis increase from 2014 to 2015 alone. Men are more likely than women to get diagnosed, possibly because they get more urgent symptoms.

Infectious syphilis has gone up since 2010, but figures show the rate of increase might be slowing. In 2017, there were 685 cases reported, a 10-per-cent drop. Both syphilis and gonorrhea have higher rates among gay and bisexual men.

Gilbert said another reason behind higher STI rates is likely an increase in testing, especially for infections that don’t show symptoms.

The decrease of HIV, as well as better treatments that mean the disease is no longer a death sentence, he said, may mean people are less scared of unprotected sex, but the stigma related to STIs is still a problem.

The CDC recommends getting tested regularly, speaking to a health professional and your partners about protection and STIs, and always using protection.

READ MORE: Teens who take birth control face increased risk of depression as adults: B.C. study

READ MORE: New genetic links to same-sex sexuality found in huge U.S. study


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Power outage planned for Victoria General Hospital

Island Health says essential services and patient care won’t be impacted during Oct. 19 outage

The Great British Columbia ShakeOut returns Oct. 17

Residents across the province drop, cover and hold on

Bonfires allowed in Saanich for $10 but only on Halloween night

Residents can purchase permits at any Saanich fire station

Vendors open doors to new futures at Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair

More tham two dozen employers, educators signed on for Victoria event

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Most Read