With the rate of sexually transmitted infections on the rise across the territory, the government is increasing access to STI testing.

In a public health advisory Tuesday, chief public health officer Kami Kandola warns of ‘dramatic increases’ in rates of gonorrhea and syphilis. People from 15 to 30 years of age are experiencing the most STIs, with the most common infection being chlamydia.

Since 2013, rates of gonorrhea have risen five-fold while rates of syphilis are seven times higher. Compared to national averages, the rates of STIs in the NWT are much higher – rates of gonorrhea were 17 times higher than the national rate in 2016.

In response, there is now increased access for people in the Yellowknife region who want to get tested. They can call 867-767-9120 to arrange ‘expedited confidential’ STI testing.

Front-line health workers are also being directed to collect ‘confidential and non-judgmental sexual histories’ when needed, conduct ‘appropriate testing’ and encourage safe sex practices. They are also being directed to start contact investigations and treat those a patient with an STI has been in contact with.