For a lot of people, words like ‘chlamydia, gonorrhea,’ and ‘syphilis’ became words seldom spoken once sex-education classes in school were over. However, experts are now warning that people need to start talking about sexually transmitted infections in Canada more often, as infections like those mentioned above are on the rise among Canadians.
In fact, sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and syphilis have been increasing in prominence in Canada, continuously, since 2003. Now, some experts believe there’s a significant reason why.
Nathan Lachowsky, an assistant professor in Public Health and Social Policy, has a clear explanation as to why certain sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Canada. Lachowsky believes that some Canadians' reluctance to wear a condom is putting them at risk of infections.
While he recognizes that condom use in Canada is definitely declining, Lachowsky told CBC News that he, and other experts, are unsure exactly why people are moving away from condoms.
"It's really unfortunate," Lachowsky said, "Condoms are a tool for prevention that we've had for a long time and we've actually gotten better in terms of making them more comfortable."
This latest STI news comes as the number of people diagnosed with HIV in Canada is decreasing at a rapid rate. In fact, CBC News reports that last month, Vancouver Coastal Health said the latest number of new HIV infections in B.C. had fallen by an astounding 52 percent since 2011. Better still, this number is expected to continue to shrink to record-low levels.
While the number of people being diagnosed with HIV continues to drop, statistics from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows that the rates of other sexually transmitted infections in Canada continue to increase exponentially. The diseases, such as chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea, have continued to grow in prominence since 2003.
Kirsten Gilbert, sex education director at Options for Sexual Health, believes the increase in Canada’s STI’s is not because young people don’t care about catching them. "The argument that kids these days aren't scared enough doesn't compute for me as why they're using condoms less," she said.
Gilbert told CBC News that young people in Canada are making decisions about their sexual health, whether that be waiting longer to have sex, using birth control, such as the pill, or, to a lesser extent, using condoms. That said, Gilbert notes that not everybody has the sexual education needed to make the best decision possible for them.
Gilbert noted that, despite advances in sexual education in Canada, she had encountered several people in their late teens who had never even seen a condom before.
This, she argues, is why the key to kicking STI’s out of Canada is to provide people, particularly young people, with the necessary education to use contraception effectively.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.