Canadians at high risk for STDs and no reason not to be tested 0
(24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
Students returning to school this fall may be carrying more than just books back to campus. Statistics Canada reported this year that nearly 14% of Canadians aged 14 to 59 have herpes simplex virus type 2, otherwise known as genital herpes. The same study found that nine out of 10 infected individuals were unaware that they carry a sexually transmitted disease for which there is no known cure. So before telling a new partner that you’re “clean,” check to make sure it’s true.
Though there is no cure for herpes, other sexually transmitted diseases and infections can be cleared up with antibiotics. Infections like Chlamydia can often be treated with a single dose of antibiotics, but Health Canada reports that over 50% of infected males and over 70% of infected females are unaware they should be treated at all. If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause infertility as well as permanent damage to reproductive organs.
It may be easy to put off booking a doctor’s appointment, but the weeks leading up to the start of the school term is the ideal time for students to schedule annual check-ups. Over the next two weeks, doctors often have more open appointment times as many patients are still on holiday, and class times won’t conflict with physician schedules.
Testing for sexually transmitted diseases and infections is as easy as peeing into a cup. Since STDs and STIs are so common, physicians are rarely surprised by a positive diagnosis. There is no stigma around being proactive about health, but there is always shame for those that knowingly put others at risk.
Should anyone feel uncomfortable seeking medical help from a family physician, there are several free and confidential clinics open throughout the Lower Mainland that can be found through bccdc.ca under ‘Sexual Health: Clinics & Programs.’ Most of these clinics offer free STD and STI testing, treatment and counselling, as well as birth control information. Many of these clinics also provide pregnancy testing, counselling and free birth control and emergency contraception pills for youth and young adults.
Canadians have access to some of the world’s best healthcare programs, which include initiatives to combat our high rates of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. For yourself and others, get tested.