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Sexual and Reproductive Health Day, held annually on February 12, is an opportunity to raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health issues and to educate yourself and others on how to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Sexually transmitted infections continue to be a significant and increasing public health concern. Over the past decade, reported rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and infectious syphilis have steadily increased. The majority of reported chlamydia and gonorrhea cases continue to be among Canadians aged 15 to 29 years, with 80 per cent of chlamydia cases and 70 per cent of gonorrhea cases in this age group. However, over the same period, reported rates of the same infections have increased significantly among middle-aged adults (aged 40 to 59) as well.
The Public Health Agency of Canada works closely with provincial and territorial partners to monitor trends in sexually transmitted infections and to develop and disseminate tools to help prevent, diagnose, treat and manage them.
The Agency also supports comprehensive sexual health education as an important tool in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and continues to carry out a number of successful projects to promote awareness of sexual health among Canadians. The Agency has worked with experts to develop and revise the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education, which provide guidance for educators and health care professionals, and support the development and implementation of effective sexual health promotion programs.
Many sexually transmitted infections have few or no noticeable symptoms so individuals may not be aware they are infected. These infections can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Regular testing by a healthcare professional for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, is important for anyone who is sexually active, as many infections, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are easily treated.
On Sexual and Reproductive Health Day, I encourage all Canadians to visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website to inform themselves and others on how to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Dr. David Butler-Jones
Chief Public Health Officer