KFL&A Public Health launches new test clinic amid gonorrhea outbreak

KFL&A Public Health. Photo by Lucas Mulder.

So far in 2020, there have been more cases of gonorrhea reported to Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health than were reported in all of 2019.

According to the local Public Health unit, the rate of gonorrhea cases has been steadily increasing over the past five years. This prompted KFL&A Public Health to declare a gonorrhea outbreak in January 2020, when it reached an all-time monthly high of 25 cases reported. That monthly high was surpassed in February with 26 cases reported, and the total number of cases reported in 2020 has now reached 98. The total number of confirmed cases in all of 2019 was 81.

“Although we normally think of youth when we think about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), 60% of these cases reported so far this year have been patients 30 years of age or older,” said Dr. Hugh Guan, PGY5 Public Health & Preventative Medicine Resident at Queen’s University.

To address this matter, KFL&A Public Health is launching a ‘Quick Test Clinic’ where individuals can get routine testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia without seeing a health care provider. Those who attend the clinic are asked to bring their health card, if they have one, and assist in the testing process (including filling out a lab requisition with their contact information, labeling the specimen container, and providing a sample for testing).

KFL&A Public Health said the clinic is a good option for those who:

  • Have had sex with a new partner since their last sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing
  • Have never had STI testing
  • Only want testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia
  • Don’t have symptoms of an STI (such as discharge, plain, or sores on genitals)
  • Want to look after their health while sexually active and want to help reduce the spread of STIs
  • Do not what to speak with or have a physical exam with a health care provider

The Quick Test Clinic will be available to the public at the KFL&A Public Health main office, located at 221 Portsmouth Avenue. It will be offered twice weekly:

  • Mondays from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursdays from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

No appointments are needed and the first clinic will take place on Thursday, Jun. 18, 2020 beginning at 1 p.m.

According to KFL&A Public Health, this clinic is designed to minimize any barriers to accessing health services during COVID-19. Individuals attending the clinic will independently pick up a test kit and provide a sample to complete the quick test, and individuals that test positive will be contacted by a public health nurse within two weeks to provide treatment and assist with partner follow-up. KFL&A asks any individuals who are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 to delay their visit to the clinic.

For more information on STI testing services or sexual health from KFL&A Public Health, visit www.kflaph.ca/SexualHealthClinic.

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