Syphilis is Up in Ottawa
Get Tested. Get Treated. Find out how.
Over the last 12 months, Ottawa Public Health has seen the number of cases of infectious syphilis double compared to the rates prior to 2015. 95% of cases in the last year have been male, and 86% report they are gay, bi or men who are having sex with men.
You can get Syphilis through oral, anal or vaginal sex and through skin-to-skin contact with a syphilis sore - this means that it can be passed by contact with areas NOT covered byb a condom or other barrier method.
Symptoms are easy to miss, and easy to mistake for something else. Even if you don't notice symptoms, you can still have syphilis!
Symptoms are usually short-lived and may include a painless ore (chancre), rash and/or flu like illness. When the symptoms go away, it doesn't mean that syphilis is gone; you still NEED treatment.
Syphilis is easily cured with antibiotics when treated early. If you wait it can result in severe and irreversible damage to organs including the heart, brain, liver, bones and eyes.
Syphilis screening is recommended for:
- People who have a sexual partner diagnosed with syphilis
- People with multiple sexual partners, especially men who have sex with men
- Sexually active people showing signs and symptoms consistent with syphilis
- Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy
People can access blood test screening, as well as testing for other sexually transmitted infections like Chlamydia and gonorrhea and HIV, through their primary care provider, at OPH's Sexual Health Centre or Gay Zone clinic.
The Sexual Health Centre will be offering syphilis testing @ Pride this year! Come byour tent and talk to a nurse for more information and testing!
For more information, contact Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 (TTY:613-580-9656 or the AIDS and Sexual Health Information Line at 1-800-668-2437.