Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (HPEC) are currently experiencing higher than normal rates of gonorrhea. Between January to May of this year, 26 cases of gonorrhea have been reported in HPEC, compared to 15 cases over the same time last year. In response, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has declared a gonorrhea outbreak in the region.
In HPEC, the rate of gonorrhea has been steadily rising over each of the past five years. Almost all recently reported infections were among individuals between the ages of 30 and 49. Since over 50% of men and woman will not have symptoms of gonorrhea, they will not know they have the infection unless they are tested.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) after chlamydia. The infection is spread through unprotected oral, vaginal and anal sex with a partner who is already infected. Sharing sex toys can also spread infection.
Health officials advise, if you have had unprotected sex, get tested – even if you don’t have any symptoms.
If you are engaging in unprotected sexual activity with new partners, protect yourself to prevent the spread of infection by using a condom or dental dam. If you’ve had unprotected sex, have a new partner, or have more than one partner, get tested.