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article imageAlberta government launches program to curb high STI rate

By Graeme McNaughton     May 25, 2011 in Health
Edmonton - The Alberta government is launching a $14 million program to help lower the amount of sexually transmitted infections in the province.
At a press conference in Edmonton, provincial Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky announced the launch of a campaign which will include print and video ads to help stop the spread of STI's like syphilis, which has infected nine babies born in the province since 2009. Four of those nine have died.
The aim of the program is to lower the rate of infections in Alberta, which is currently the highest in Canada, to below the national average.
“We need to be much more aggressive than we ever have been and we need a lot more help than we ever thought we would,” said Zwozdesky.
"Whatever those efforts were, they were insufficient to yield the positive results that we’re looking for, so we have to ramp up, rethink some of that strategy, augment those parts that worked, discard some of those perhaps that didn’t work so well and move forward.”
The Ministry of Health in Alberta will be fighting alongside the education, aboriginal affairs and housing ministries to help stop the spread of STI's. The federal health and corrections departments, as well as local community groups, will also be lending a hand.
In 2009, the province recorded 1,585 cases of gonorrhea, over double the amount of a decade prior. Chlamydia are also on the rise, with a 207 per cent increase in that same time frame, to 13,000 infections in 2009.
“Alberta rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis exceeded the national rate in 2009,” said Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. André Corriveau. “But, we are confident with the implementation of the actions in this strategy - including prenatal testing, an expanded system for contact tracing and hiring more prevention workers - we will see these rates dramatically decrease and bring us below the national rate within the strategy’s time frame.”
More about Alberta, Sexual health, Sti, Syphilis
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