Thursday, 12 December 2013

What the Hell Happened To the Concept of Safe Sex?

What the hell happened to safe sex? Responsibility? Have people learned nothing? Apparently not in Vancouver where health officials are calling the current syphilis rate in Metro Vancouver an epidemic. Indeed, across Canada a disease that was once rare has exploded over the last few years but no where more so then in Vancouver's gay community.

Yes, you heard that right. The gay community. The community that has been devastated by HIV and AIDS have syphilis rates of epidemic proportions. And sadly, these are the numbers that they are seeing. The real number of cases will be higher.

But here is the real frightening phenonema that is not being reported. Where there is an increase in one kind of sexually transmitted disease there is an increase in others and many, like HIV, often go undetected for years. Indeed, studies show that 1 in 5, that is 20%, of sexually active gay and bisexual men have HIV and of that number fully 50% of them do not know it.

Read the story below and do the math. It should scare you to death if you are gay. Hell, it should scare you to death if you are straight.

Syphilis Rate Soars in Vancouver Gay, Bisexual Communities

The Canadian Press

Published Monday, November 18, 2013 2:46PM PST
Last Updated Monday, November 18, 2013 7:56PM PST

VANCOUVER -- The syphilis rate in Metro Vancouver has reached a 30-year high, prompting a new campaign aimed at eliminating the disease.

Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said Monday that syphilis rates are at epidemic proportions, especially in the Lower Mainland's gay and bisexual communities.

In 2012, there were 371 cases reported in B.C., most of those with the disease were gay and bisexual men.
 A new campaign is warning gay and bisexual men that syphilis rates are at epidemic proportions in the Lower Mainland. Nov. 18, 2013. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

The sexually transmitted disease is highly contagious.

If left untreated, syphilis can lead to blindness, hearing loss, neurological problems and in severe cases can be fatal.

Vancouver Coastal Health launched the campaign to urge people in gay and bisexual communities to get tested regularly and practise safe sex.

The cheeky Internet and poster campaign focuses on Vancouver trends such as French bulldogs, dating apps and syphilis rates at a 30-year high.

Several community agencies work with gay and bisexual men, including Health Initiative for Men, or HIM, and Positive Living B.C.

Jody Jollimore, program manager for Health Initiative for Men, said the campaign educates men in a way that reflects their lives.

"We know that gay and bisexual men care about their sexual health and when given access to appropriate information, (they) make healthier choices," Jollimore said in a news release.

Glen Doupe, an outreach team leader for the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, said people need to get tested regularly because they have may the disease and not know it.
"Syphilis spreads easily through any form of sexual contact so people also need to be more knowledgeable about safe sex practices."

B.C. isn't the only province to see a spike in the number of syphilis cases.

Statistics show that in 2010 there were more than 1,750 cases in Canada, up from the 177 in 1993.

(Posted to Blogster November 28. 2013)

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