Sexually transmitted infections on the rise in Toronto
Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Toronto, and health experts are shocked by the numbers. Part of the blame lies in the fact that fewer people are using condoms or even practising safe sex. Toronto may have some of the highest rates in the province.
Gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis are all up significantly across the province and in Toronto. Dr Herveen Sachdeva, an associate medical officer of Toronto public health, had this to say, “When you’re starting to see over 900 cases of syphilis, it is quite high compared to where we were previously, so it is concerning.”
In only one year, chlamydia rates rose from 8300 reported cases to 8900, and over the last decade, it has increased threefold. Also concerning is Gonorrhoea, which saw massive spikes in Toronto from just over 2000 cases in 2017 to 2800 now.
“The highest is chlamydia is as is said, chlamydia. We get over ten thousand cases annually, and when we put the STIs together, they account for 2/3rds of all of the infectious diseases that are reported to use. These are high volume diseases in the city,” Dr Sachedeva said. “It’s been around for a long time, and the rates were really low, and now there’s all this research, so it’s kind of like a re-emerging infection, and it is a disease that can cause some significant health outcomes.”
Toronto public health attributes the reasons we see more STIs in Toronto to a change in sexual behaviour, with more people open to having multiple sexual partners. Also, officials say a significant contributor is fewer people are using condoms.
“There’s a lot of theories, hypothesis, and a lot of research going into this area right now. One reason why we see more cases is that we have better diagnostic tools, so the testing has become more sensitive, we can detect cases more readily and in different parts of the body where people can get the infection as well,” added Dr Sachedeva.
“But probably a bigger component is changing sexual health behaviours over time. That would be people having more sexual partners that are not necessarily mutually monogamous, and that creates a kind of sexual network where these bacteria can be transmitted from person to person.”
Officials say many of these infections can cause long-term health issues. Some dating experts say some of the blame lies in Toronto’s so-called ‘hook-up’ culture.
Dr Sachedava further added that “we have a big population and a young population, and so STIs tend to be concentrated in younger people, and a lot of factors contribute to that, but Toronto certainly has higher rates than the rest of the province. Young adults between the ages of 15 – 29 are the age group most affected with STIs.”
Shannon Tebb, matchmaker and dating expert, says the development of singles neighbourhoods could be partially to blame as well. Toronto public health is urging people to get checked out frequently to make sure that they are safe