Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) advises that cases of syphilis continue to increase in the region. In 2022, there were 139 confirmed cases of syphilis in the NWHU catchment area, which is a 21% increase from the previous year. Just over 50% of the cases in 2022 were identified in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub and 42% were in the Kenora Health Hub.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is primarily spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. “Consistent use of barrier methods for protection such as condoms and dental dams is very important to prevent the spread of syphilis,” says Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU. She also encourages anyone at risk to get tested, “Testing is available at NWHU sexual health clinics and from your healthcare provider”.
Syphilis can also spread from a pregnant woman to a fetus during pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant women get tested three times during pregnancy, or as recommended by their healthcare provider.
For more information, contact your local NWHU office.