Sexual Health Nova Scotia (SHNS) is celebrating the recent announcement of a new federal strategy to reduce the impact of sexually transmitted diseases.
The Pan-Canadian Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infection Framework for Action was approved at a meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial health ministers on June 29. It lays out national goals for reducing the spread of infections such as HIV, hepatitis C, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
“Hopefully, this new framework will bring attention to the lack of services here in Nova Scotia,” says Ms. Conor Falvey, provincial coordinator of SHNS’ network of sexual health centres. “Our centres do a lot of community education to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, but the need far exceeds our capacity.”
The most serious gap in Nova Scotia is access to testing and treatment. None of the SHNS centres outside Halifax has a nurse or doctor on staff, so they cannot test for STBBIs. Nonetheless, they receive frequent requests, especially from young people.
“We’re contacted a lot by people who have no family doctor, or else they feel their family doctor isn’t a safe person to talk to about sexual health,” says Ms. Falvey. “And we sometimes hear unpleasant stories about how their health care providers reacted to requests for STBBI tests.”
Within HRM, the Halifax Sexual Health Centre is a safe, free option for anyone seeking testing or treatment for STBBIs.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the rate of new HIV infections has remained the same in Canada for the last decade, while rates of chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea have been steadily climbing since the 1990s.
Read the Pan-Canadian STBBI Framework for Action in here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/infectious-diseases/sexual-health-sexually-transmitted-infections/reports-publications/sexually-transmitted-blood-borne-infections-action-framework.html