Sask. Prevention Institute kicks off new campaign on syphilis awareness
With efforts to raise awareness and increase knowledge, the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute launched a new campaign about the dramatic rise of syphilis in the province.
According to a release, the initiative corresponds with an associated rise in cases of congenital syphilis with a primary focus on keeping children healthy. The sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be passed to babies during pregnancy or delivery.
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The Prevention Institute’s Sexual and Reproductive Health program coordinator said with the re-emergence of congenital syphilis, they are seeing an increase in disability and even death.
“Syphilis is preventable. Congenital syphilis is preventable,” stated Jasmin Ogren. “We need to get the message out that syphilis is back, and that all it takes is a quick blood test and simple antibiotics to cure the infection.”
According to Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, syphilis infections in Saskatchewan have increased substantially since 2016 and the Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health reported 1,940 cases in 2021, up from 924 in 2020.
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The awareness campaign aims to increase knowledge about syphilis to encourage people to get tested and to know that it can be treated with antibiotics, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
The Prevention Institute’s campaign includes province-wide messaging shared through online and traditional media including billboards, radio, bathroom advertising and more.
“People need to know that syphilis is here, and anyone having unprotected sex is at risk for syphilis,” stated Ogren. “But they also need to know how easy it is to get tested, treated, and ultimately, cured. Doing so will help to stop the spread of syphilis and protect babies.”
Without treatment, syphilis runs in four stages: primary, secondary stage, latent and late stages, according to the Ministry of Health website. To learn more about syphilis and to find community resources, visit talksyphilis.ca.
Syphilis cases nearly triple in Saskatchewan
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