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Media Release: Gonorrhea rates remain high in HPEC. If you’re having condomless sex, get tested.

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/April 27, 2021 – In June 2020, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) declared an outbreak of gonorrhea, and the area continues to be in outbreak status. HPEPH continues to experience an unprecedented number of gonorrhea cases, with a 200% increase in 2020 compared to the previous 5-year average. From 2015-2019, HPEPH had an average of 39 gonorrhea cases that were diagnosed per year. In comparison, 79 cases were reported in 2020, and 25 cases have been reported in the first 4 months of 2021 alone.

Individuals from a variety of age groups, relationship statuses, and sexual orientation are testing positive – meaning that anyone who is having condomless/unprotected sex could be at risk. Just because you or your partner(s) don’t have symptoms, doesn’t mean you’re not infected. Many people have sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and don’t know it, which means it can easily be passed on to others. If you’ve had condomless/unprotected sex, have a new partner, or have more than one partner, get tested.

Individuals are also encouraged to consider getting tested, even if they only have one partner. If one individual is engaging in sexual activities outside of a relationship, they could pass STIs on. STIs can be spread through unprotected oral, vaginal and anal sex with a partner who is already infected. Sharing sex toys can also spread infection.

“Since over 50% of men and women will not have symptoms of gonorrhea, you might not know you have the infection unless you get tested, “says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Knowing your status is important. When untreated, gonorrhea and other STIs can lead to serious complications, such as long-term illness, infection, and infertility. To reduce your risk, know your partners’ status and use protection. If you’re unsure of your partners’ STI status or your own, get tested.”

HPEPH is unable to offer STI testing at the current time, as resources have been redeployed to support the COVID-19 pandemic response. To get tested for STIs, contact your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, contact a walk-in clinic to discuss testing and treatment options. For more information about STIs, visit our website or call the HPEPH Sexual Health Team at 613-966-5500, extension 243.

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Media Contacts:

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
etubbs@hpeph.ca  

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
mhyland@hpeph.ca

About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Symptoms or exposure? Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.