Calgary Herald (01.30.12) - Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Alberta is making progress against STDs and is improving
surveillance to detect drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea,
the province's chief medical health officer announced
recently. The surveillance measure will help ensure "we don't
end up behind the eight ball," said Andre Corriveau, noting
that such strains are "very worrisome for all the public
health communities around the world."
"We're starting to see a creep in the level of antibiotics you
require to treat the infection," Corriveau said. "We have a
couple of imported cases, and we have to make sure it doesn't
spread within the province."
Gonorrhea reports dipped in 2009 and 2010, though the number
of new cases in 2010, 1,188, was double the figure from a
decade ago, Corriveau said. While STD rates have generally
declined, Alberta's 13,000 chlamydia cases represented double
the 2000 figure, and the rate remains above the Canadian
average. HIV infections spiked in 2007, with 6.7 cases per
100,000 population, but in 2010 the rate dropped to 5.2 cases
per 100,000. The 30 new AIDS cases in 2010 represented the
lowest increase seen in more than 20 years.
Last May, the province announced a five-year, $14 million (US
$14.01 million) effort to fight STDs, including $2 million (US
$2 million) for an awareness campaign. Last year's "edgy"
advertising had an immediate effect on the number of young
adults getting tested, Corriveau said. A new campaign will
launch this year with fresh messages, and new ads may be aimed
at dating sites linked to STDs.