Risk of STI's

Rates of chlamydia may be on the rise

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is contracted through sexual contact, and is the most common STI in both Canada and the US. Among women, common symptoms include, but are not limited to, a burning sensation during urination, painful sexual intercourse, bleeding between periods and after intercourse, and vaginal itching and discharge. Similarly, men may also experience a burning sensation during urination, discharge from the penis, and testicular tenderness or pain. However, up to 70% of women and 50% of men who have Chlamydia do not experience any symptoms. This is particularly problematic given that an untreated infection can lead to severe health complications. For example, among women chlamydia may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Among men, chlamydia can lead to inflammation of the urethra (urethritis). Luckily, when diagnosed in a timely fashion, this STI can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

In Canada, the rates of chlamydia have reportedly been on the rise for over a decade. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of reported cases of chlamydia increased by 122% in Ontario. Similarly, Alberta reported a 125% increase in the rates of chlamydia infections over the same time period. Rates of chlamydia infection are highest among Canadians between 15 and 35 years of age. Using condoms can dramatically reduce the risk of contracting and STI. Unfortunately, according to Vera Etches, Associate Medical Officer of health for the city of Ottawa, most sexually active Canadian youth “are not using condoms”.

Similar trends have been reported in the United States. According to a 2011 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,412,791 cases of Chlamydia reported in the US, an increase of 8% since 2010. Rates of reported cases of Gonnorrhea and Syphilis were also up 4 and 4.5% respectively in 2011. According to the CDC report, most reported Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections occur among 15 – 24 year olds. It is expected that these numbers represent only a portion of infected individuals.

If you think you may have contracted an STI, whether or not you have any of the known symptoms, you should ask your doctor or health care clinic worker to be tested for chlamydia or other STIs.

Read more about this issue here.

Read the CDC report here.

Read more about chlamydia here and here.

To learn more about how to minimize the risk of contracting an STI, click here.

To learn more about the relationship between STIs and fertility, click here and here.


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