Sexually transmitted infections on the rise on Vancouver Island

Island Health launches online option to help encourage more testing, particularly aimed at younger residents

Island Health officials are hopeful a new online testing program for sexually transmitted infections will help curb their upswing in younger Vancouver Island adults.

Island Health officials are hopeful a new online testing program for sexually transmitted infections will help curb their upswing in younger Vancouver Island adults.

Remember the height of the AIDS scare, when people were basically bombarded with the message of “wear a condom or die?”

Today’s young adults don’t.

That may be factor in the gradually increasing rate of sexually transmitted infections on Vancouver Island and it certainly is playing a part in a new promotion being launched by Island Health.

“For me, the emphasis is to promote it for our youth populations, and for people to start thinking about (testing) as part of their regular health care,” Vancouver Island medical health officer Dee Hoyano said.

Between 2005 and 2014, chlamydia — the most common of the diseases being tested for — has risen from 216 cases per 100,000 people to 288 per 100,000. Cases in the south and central Island roughly mirror those numbers, while on the north Island they are a little higher.

Other sexually transmitted infections are less common, but also seem to be on the upswing. Hoyano points to two factors.

“Our tests have gotten better, so when we do test, we pick up more; and changes in sexual behaviour, particularly around safer sex practices like using a condom,” she said.

As part of its emphasis on increased testing, the health authority has launched getcheckedonline.com a new service that allows you to get tested for chlamydia, hepatitis C, syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV without ever having to visit a doctor’s office.

Island residents can create an account through the website, take a quiz on their sexual history, print a laboratory requisition form, then get tested at a participating LifeLabs outlet.

Negative results will lead to an online notification. Positive or inconclusive results will lead to a call from a nurse to arrange treatment.

Health officials hope the increased privacy the program offers will combine with youth culture’s comfort online to result in more people getting tested.

The program is primarily being offered to residents of Victoria, Langford and Duncan because that is where the participating labs are.

However, Hoyano said residents of communities further up-Island are also welcome to participate if they don’t mind making the drive.

She is hopeful the service can be expanded fully into other Island communities, if the numbers of this initial program seem to warrant it.

Public health officials recommend B.C. residents get tested for HIV once every five years, regardless of their behaviour. People are told to consider testing for the other diseases based on factors like new sexual partners, or signs and symptoms.

“It’s kind of what makes sense of the individual,” Hoyano said. “Some who are potentially at higher risk might want to do more.”

A similar pilot program was launched in Vancouver focused on men who have sex with men. Visit the website for more information.

 

 

Just Posted

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read