May 7, 2010
Media Release

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates on the rise

One in every 450 York Region residents acquired a sexually transmitted infection in 2009
NEWMARKET – Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates are on the rise in York Region.  To help prevent the spread of STIs, The Regional Municipality of York Community and Health Services Department encourages residents to learn the facts.
 
STIs are passed from one person to another during various sexual activities including intercourse.  STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes and HIV.  If undiagnosed and untreated, STIs can persist and lead to long-term health problems and complications. 
 
Between 2000 and 2009 in York Region, approximately one in every 450 residents and one in every 300 teens were diagnosed with an STI each year.  Similar to national trends during this time, the largest increases in STIs in York Region were observed in teens 15 to 19 years of age.  The highest rates of STIs were in individuals aged 15 to 29.  Females accounted for just over half of all STI cases.
 
According to Health Canada, two of the most common STIs are chlamydia and human papillomavirus (HPV).  Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI in Canada.  It is also known as the “silent disease,” because more than 50 per cent of infected males and 70 per cent of infected females have no symptoms and are not aware they are infected.  If chlamydia is left untreated in women, it can cause health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility.  From 2007 to 2009, the rise in STI rates in York Region and throughout Ontario is mainly attributable to new chlamydia infections.
 
HPV is a viral infection that can cause ano-genital warts or cervical cancer.  Statistics show that an estimated 75 per cent of sexually active men and women will come in contact with HPV over their lifetime.  Many of these infections will clear on their own provided the person has a healthy immune system.  There is no cure for HPV once a person is infected, but symptoms of the virus such as warts can be treated.  Similar to chlamydia, if there are no symptoms present individuals can unknowingly pass on the infection to their partners.
 
STIs are preventable and some can be cured while others can be controlled.  Encouraging safer sex practices such as consistent use of latex condoms, regular STI testing and education can prevent the transmission of STIs. 
 
York Region’s Sexual Health Clinics offer a wide range of confidential and non-judgemental services to promote sexual health.  Services include sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, anonymous HIV and Point of Care testing, birth control counselling, low cost birth control options and the emergency contraceptive pill, education and counselling on various sexual health issues and referral to other appropriate community resources.  Services are available at no cost to York Region residents of all ages, background, lifestyle and sexual orientation.  A health card is not required.
 
There are five sexual health clinics located across the Region.  Clinic hours and locations vary and appointments are required.  For more information on STIs, testing and York Region sexual health clinics, please call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933 or visit www.york.ca/sexualhealth
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 / After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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