Last year, Fredericton experienced an outbreak of HIV, gonorrhea and hepatitis B according to Regional Public Health. A month ago, another notice was sent to the public to warn them of the continuing outbreak.
The notice is meant to inform the public and urge them to get tested and speak with their primary care provider about the infections.
Regional medical officer of health Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey said she wishes people would be more open to discussing STIs.
“There are ways to have safer sex, there are ways to reduce harm and there are ways to protect yourself,” she said.
STIs like gonorrhea are infections transmitted through sexual contact, they carry a wide variety of symptoms and long-term effects. Bloodborne infections like HIV and hepatitis B are similar to STIs but spread through bodily fluids.
In April, gonorrhea was the main concern for the Fredericton area. While it’s still seen as an issue, HIV is now a bigger threat.
Lamptey said anyone who is having unprotected sex is at risk of an infection but the people who are at a greater risk are those who share needles, have numerous partners and use online dating apps.
HIV can turn into AIDS if left untreated.
Lamptey said it is important to ask your partner if they’ve been tested, to get tested yourself and to use protection.
There are medications and vaccinations to help prevent certain infections like the Gardasil vaccine that prevents certain types of HPV, an STI.
“There are ways to have safer sex, there are ways to reduce harm and there are ways to protect yourself,” said Lamptey.
Students can get tested for STIs through the Student Health Centre on the University of New Brunswick campus. People can also call the 811 nurse hotline for information on the nearest healthcare provider.
Lamptey’s goal along with other health care providers is to encourage people to know the risk, get tested and use the various methods.
“Healthy sex is about feeling knowledgeable about your own body,” said Lamptey.
“Unfortunately, there is a stigma related to STIs but sexual health is a part of health, it’s a part of being a human being. I encourage people to take these steps and talk to someone,” said Lamptey.
For more information about STIs you can visit peachesandeggplants.tips or call the UNB Health Centre at (506) 453-4837.