Alberta Health Services (AHS) is reporting that across the province, the number of infectious syphilis and gonorrhea cases continue to rise at alarming rates.
Gonorrhea cases have more than doubled from 1900 cases in 2014 to over 5,000 cases in 2018 and syphilis cases have increased from 160 in 2014 to over 1500 cases in 2018.
In addition, Edmonton Zone has reported six out 10 of the 25 congenital syphilis cases reported since 2015. Two fetal deaths were reported.
The Medical Officer of Health, Christopher Sikora MD is advising primary care providers talk
to their patients about sexual health and complete the following:
- Create an inclusive environment that values sexual, gender and cultural diversity where everyone feels safe, respected and free of discrimination, keeping in mind that all genders and socio-economic groups are affected by this outbreak.
- Ask all adult and adolescent patients for permission to take a sexual history at every reasonable opportunity, be it during walk-in or follow-up visits.
- Provide safe sex counselling, which includes the promotion of condom use when appropriate.
- Provide appropriate syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B and HIV screening for all sexually active and pregnant patients if indicated.
- Advise patients on immunization for related infections (i.e. Hepatitis B, HPV and Hepatitis A).