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Syphilis on the rise in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark: health unit

The Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit has issued a reminder to residents regarding a local surge in syphilis cases.

“Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected partner, including through mutual masturbation and sharing of sex toys,” the health unit explains in a media release. “It can spread by direct contact with bacteria contained in syphilitic sores or rashes. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her infant during pregnancy.”

Those who are infected with syphilis may not always have noticeable symptoms, which highlights the importance of routine testing and treatment to prevent severe health complications.

Expectant mothers or those planning to conceive are urged to undergo testing, as early detection and treatment can mitigate health risks for both the mother and the baby.

Residents can access free testing at health unit’s sexual health clinics, located across seven different locations in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. These clinics prioritize inclusivity, welcoming individuals of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Attendees are not required to present a health card or have a primary health care provider.

The health unit collaborates with the University of Ottawa’s GetAKit program, offering at-home testing kits for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. These kits can be ordered through the health unit’s website and are delivered to residences at no charge.

For additional information, residents can contact the LGL Health Unit via email at contact@healthunit.org or call the toll-free number: 1-800-660-5853 to consult with a public health nurse.

Accessing services at local sexual health clinics has been streamlined with the health unit’s new online booking system. However, those without access to a computer can still arrange appointments by contacting them directly. While walk-ins may be accommodated at clinics in Brockville, Smiths Falls, Gananoque, Kemptville, and Almonte, appointments are strongly encouraged.

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