In 2009, there were 33,000 reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and infectious syphilis in Ontario. These reportable bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) represented approximately 48% of all reportable disease cases reported in Ontario that year. Although the vast majority of infections do not lead to long-term sequelae, if left untreated, outcomes can be severe, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Untreated infections may also lead to further infections in sexual partners. The Ontario Burden of Infectious Disease Study (ONBOIDS) ranked chlamydia and gonorrhea 18th and 20th, respectively, out of 51 selected pathogens with respect to combined burden of morbidity and mortality.
The acquisition of a bacterial STI can increase a person’s risk of acquiring other bacterial STIs and HIV in addition to the presence of risk behaviours that resulted in the initial STI infection. With the annual reported cases of bacterial STIs showing an upward trend over the past decade, there are resource pressures on local public health units with respect to the public health follow-up of sexual contacts for potential testing, treatment and counseling. It is increasingly important to determine the cause of these trends and to identify effective interventions that may help reduce the incidence of these diseases. STI encounters reported from 2006 to 2009 and their client records from the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) show that approximately 24% of STI encounters during this time occurred in individuals with multiple STIs between 2006 and 2009. However, clients with multiple STIs accounted for only 12% of the total number of clients reporting at least one STI in this four year time period.
Presenter: Dr. Colin Lee
Dr. Colin Lee is a public health physician in infectious disease prevention and control at the Public Health Ontario. He is also an Associate Medical Officer of Health at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Dr. Lee is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in community medicine and the College of Family Physicians of Canada in family medicine and emergency medicine.
Presenter: Michael Whelan
Michael Whelan is a senior epidemiologist with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in the Public Health Protection and Prevention Branch working in infectious disease surveillance and reporting. In particular he is focused on the surveillance of sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, and respiratory infections.
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