New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health says gonorrhea rates are on the rise in the province, which is concerning.
“What’s really concerning is that there were five times more confirmed cases in 2021 than the year before,” says Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Confirmed cases of sexually transmitted infections rose from 54 in 2020 to 254 in 2021 in New Brunswick, according to Russell.
Just months into 2022, the province has already recorded 64 cases.
“Gonorrhea is with us right now. It’s circulating, like I said, in this particular age group of 20 to 39,” says Russell. “So getting tested is really important, especially if you have symptoms, and you can even have gonorrhea without symptoms.”
With cases rapidly increasing, the province is encouraging New Brunswickers to get tested, which can be done with either a urine test or a swab.
If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to infertility in women and, in rare cases, in men.
However, according to the executive director of AIDS New Brunswick, in addition to public messaging, more education about sexually transmitted infections is also an important component, as is greater accessibility to things like contraception.
“There are still challenges in accessing free condoms, especially dental dams, which are very hard to find in the province,” says Amanda Diggins, Executive Director of AIDS New Brunswick.
“Also someone called today and said they don’t know where to get sexual health testing so make sure it’s really accessible as it can be a difficult process especially if you you are in a more rural area.”
To get tested, the province says New Brunswickers should contact their local sexual health center — a list, which includes each center’s phone numbers, is available on the government’s website.
More information on gonorrhea is also available on the GNB website.