Gonorrhoea, syphilis rates skyrocket in N.W.T.: public health officer

The N.W.T. chief public health officer is issuing a public health advisory after seeing a dramatic rise in the rates of two STIs in the territory.

According to a news release from the public health officer, gonorrhoea rates are five times higher than in 2013 and 17 times higher than the national rate.

Syphilis rates are seven times higher than the 2013 rate. The release says there have been 25 reported cases of syphilis since 2015.

In this May 23, 1944 file photo, the organism treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis, is seen through an electron microscope. Health-care staff have seen 25 reported cases of syphilis in the N.W.T. since 2015. (Associated Press)

Chlamydia remains the most common sexually transmitted infection in the N.W.T.

The office of the chief public health officer is directing frontline health-care staff to roll out new measures in an effort to combat the spread of infection.

When appropriate, health-care staff will be testing patients for STIs and collecting confidential sexual histories. Staff will also investigate who an exposed individual may have had contact with, and will let those people know they should get tested and treated, if needed.

Health-care staff will continue to encourage patients to practise safe sex.

In addition to this, patients in the Yellowknife region will have increased access to STI testing. Patients can call 867-767-9120 to get an expedited confidential STI screening.