SASKATOON – Health officials are dealing with the outbreak of sexually transmitted infections in some Western-central Saskatchewan communities.
The Saskatchewan Health Administration has declared the outbreak of HIV in the Northern battlefield and the outbreak of syphilis in battlefields and areas of Lloydminster.
It is said that HIV is spreading mainly through people who inject drugs and share needles, but can also be obtained through unprotected sex.
Epidemics of syphilis are due to unprotected sexual activity.
Dr. Mandian Nsung, a healthcare worker, says there have been 15 new cases of HIV in Northern Battlefor in the past few months, when the usual number of cases is four times a year.
He says that in the past five months there have been 42 cases of syphilis in combat commands and in Lojdminster, when there are usually less than seven new cases each year.
"We want the public to be aware of the risks associated with these infections, and how they can be prevented and treated," Nsung said on Friday.
"HIV and syphilis are diseases that can be treated. It's important that people who are sexually active know their HIV status and syphilis. Knowing your status means that treatment can be provided and individuals can help reduce the risk of spreading the disease."
Nsung says many people who have SPIs such as syphilis and HIV have no symptoms.
He says that testing is free and confidential and can be done by a doctor, a nurse or in a sexual health clinic.