The number of sexually transmitted infections are on the rise across the province according to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

Across the north, over 1,100 cases of Chlamydia were reported in 2016 along with over 300 cases of Gonorrhea.

We’re seeing more cases pop up due to a larger amount of testing.

“Increasing in testing I think in part is what’s driving these increases because of most of the STI’s are Asymptomatic, meaning people have no symptoms of the infection and so it is through screening that we are able to pick up a lot of these things,” says Jason Wong, BCCDC Physician.

Chart displays Northern Health rates for residents listed with chlamydia in 2016 | BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)

When we further break down this Chlamydia graph, the biggest demographic rise turned out to be women between the ages of 20-24 with over 3,100 cases recorded, while the second largest spike was for girls within the 15-19 age category coming in at over 1,800 confirmed reports.

From 2007 to 2016, the number of Chlamydia cases in the province has gone from 10,020 to 14,889.

He adds the increased testing along with people refusing to wear protection is the two main drivers of the spike.

“Changes in condom use, which we know for example is one of the things that protect against all STI’s and not just HIV so I think the combination of these factors are what’s driving the increase in STI’s not only in BC but in other jurisdictions as well.”

Online dating, casual hook-ups along with a diminished fear of HIV and Aids have not helped the cause either states Wong.

“I think what has changed is how people are finding their partners and technology has certainly aided people to find partners much easier and being able to match partners on what they want. So if they do want a more casual hook up they will match themselves with other partners who are looking for the same thing.”

Chart displays Northern Health rates for residents listed with gonorrhea in 2016 | BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)

When we delve deeper into Gonorrhea, the upward incline favors men, especially in the older age groups while, the young adult and teenage graphs are a little bit more balanced.

Males between the ages 25-29 recorded a count of 363 – the number spikes even higher for men aged 30-39 with 579 cases being recorded.

Over the past decade, the volume of Gonnorhea incidents went from 1,200 to just over 3,000 province-wide.

HIV rates within Northern Health remain low with only 13 confirmed cases in 2016.