(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Agassiz Anglican Church hosts benefit dinner

Door prizes, entertainment and a catered dinner

LETTER: We’re all shook up

Harvey Andrew of Agassiz reminisces about earthquakes in a letter.

Barking news: Annual Pet Lover Show returns to Abbotsford!

Largest animal showcase in Western Canada brings fur and feather fun

Hockey 4: Simply for the love of hockey

No scores kept, no MVPs named — in Hope they just play for fun

Agassiz senior communities get gov’t grant

Funding to be used for new equipment, B.C. Ministry of Health says

VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award

Leonard scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead Team LeBron to a 157-155 victory

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group to meet on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

Most Read