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Chlamydia and STI Trends in Guelph: A Growing Concern

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region is experiencing a concerning rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly chlamydia, highlighting an ongoing public health challenge. The latest data presented to the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Board of Health reveals an increase in chlamydial infections, with cases climbing from 670 in 2022 to 766 in 2023. This uptick is primarily observed among young adults aged 20 to 29 and teenagers aged 15 to 19.

A significant 63% of these cases were reported in females, likely due to more frequent STI screening in women, which aids in identifying asymptomatic infections. Alongside chlamydia, the region also saw a rise in cases of latent syphilis, growing from 11 in 2022 to 14 in 2023. While syphilis infections predominantly affected males, with 77% of cases occurring in this group, particularly those aged 30 to 39, there were fortunately no reported cases of congenital syphilis locally in 2023.

HIV/AIDS cases, though still rare, saw a slight increase from eight in 2022 to ten in 2023. Over half of these cases were among males, with a significant portion of infections found in individuals aged 40 and above.

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Public health officials are also monitoring Mpox, formerly known as Monkeypox, which, while not traditionally classified as an STI, is being treated as one due to its potential transmission through sexual contact. Fortunately, there were no new Mpox cases reported in 2023.

With the resumption of clinical services in 2023 after a hiatus during the pandemic, timely STI testing, reproductive health, and pregnancy services are once again fully operational. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health continues to spearhead a robust sexual health program. This program focuses on managing all positive cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, particularly targeting individuals without a primary care provider or Ontario Health Card. Free STI treatment options are available through the program for clients of any age, ensuring comprehensive care and support.

This data underscores the critical need for ongoing public health efforts to address and mitigate STI transmission in the community, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations and youth.

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