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AHS announces high cases of syphilis in the province

Syphilis rates in Northern Alberta are going up at an alarming rate, says Alberta Health Services. The group held a press conference yesterday after declaring a provincial outbreak of the sexually transmitted infection. The AHS North Zone, which includes the Lakeland, led the way in new cases in 2018, with an almost 325% increase from the year before.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the stigma around STI testing needs to end.

“We need to emphasize for all Albertans: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a risk to anyone who is sexually active, particularly people who have new sex partners and are not using protection. I encourage anyone who is sexually active to get tested regularly. Anyone in Alberta can access STI testing and treatment for free.”

A provincial outbreak coordination committee consisting of health officials and others has been activated. The committee will develop a strategy to try and increase STI testing, promote public awareness and reduce the overall number of syphilis cases in the province.

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The last time Alberta saw syphilis rates this high was 1948. A total of 1,536 cases of the disease were reported in 2018.

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