MB Government: Province Releases Data on Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections
November 25, 2022
Manitoba Health advises new and updated data on sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) are now available online, which includes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and hepatitis B and C.
Higher rates of STBBI are being reported in Manitoba, across Canada and in many other jurisdictions. The COVID-19 pandemic may have affected the way people sought testing, care and treatment, as well as the sexual health services available. As people and health-care services resume regular activities, including seeking health care and testing, infection rates are expected to continue to increase. Responding to STBBI is a priority for public health.
STBBI disproportionately impact structurally disadvantaged people in Manitoba. Sexual health is part of overall health and should be treated without judgment or stigma. Anyone can get a STBBI. Often, people do not experience any symptoms with STBBI. Without treatment, there can be serious lasting effects and the infection can be passed to others. This is why regular testing is important, as well as discussing and disclosing STBBI test results to partners. In general, public health recommends that if an individual is being tested for one STBBI, they should test for all.
Responding to STBBI rates is complex and requires many different approaches to reach people who are not connected to a health-care provider or who may face systemic barriers in accessing culturally safe and responsive health care.
The province currently supports an Indigenous-led model of sexual health care at Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. The Mino Pimatisiwin Sexual Wellness Lodge works with Indigenous people living in Winnipeg to offer culturally safe care that seeks to reduce barriers and normalize STBBI testing and treatment. For more information, visit https://goaskauntie.ca/. Additionally, public health teams across Manitoba are involved in supporting and leading outreach efforts in communities.
Once a person is diagnosed, it is important that they receive the right care to manage their health and access the right treatments. The province continues to provide STBBI medication coverage, such as free antibiotics for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. For HIV, the province also provides:
- enhanced access to anti-retroviral drug treatment for Manitobans experiencing significant financial barriers;
- expanded coverage for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medications; and
- antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) through the Manitoba Pharmacare Program and Employment and Income Assistance coverage.
In addition, public health continues to update guidance and protocols for health-care providers to support clinical care. Updated guidance on syphilis was released in the fall. Revised guidance and protocols for HIV are expected to be released in December, with others to follow.
Manitoba Health data on STBBI are available at https://gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/surveillance/stbbi/index.html and will be updated quarterly. Information for the public and STBBI guidance and protocols for health-care providers, including the revised guidance on syphilis, are available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/cdc/sti/index.html.
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For more information:
- Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
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