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STI updates are blog posts from the BCCDC or our community partners about a variety of sexual health topics. These include program updates, clinical practice changes, new research, events, and more. We will not clutter your inbox with frequent emails, and your email address will not be used for any other purposes. 

Estimated sizes of key populations for HIV and HCV in BC

April 4, 2017 by David Moore, Physician Lead HIV Program, PHSA, and Annelies Becu, HIV Project Coordinator, PHSA, and Janice Duddy, Director of Evaluation and Community-Based Research, Pacific AIDS Network

Background It is well understood that a few key populations in British Columbia bear a disproportionately high burden of HIV and hepatitis C compared to the general population. These key populations include gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), people who use injection drugs (PWID), and heterosexuals who engage in high-risk…

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Emailing and texting with patients at the Provincial STI Clinic

February 21, 2017 by Lauren Collins, RN(c), Clinical Coordinator Resource Nurse, Clinical Prevention Services, BCCDC

Background Clinicians face an increasing need to communicate with patients through digital technology, like email and text, to improve efficiency and convenience for both patient and care provider.  In response to requests from patients and clinicians for communication through email and text, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) developed draft Email and Text Guidelines…

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Risk factors for repeat syphilis infections among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in British Columbia, 2005-2014

December 14, 2016 by Jason Wong, Physician Epidemiologist, Clinical Prevention Services, BCCDC

Background The rates of infectious syphilis have substantially increased over the past decade. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) represent almost two thirds of all syphilis diagnoses in British Columbia (BC) from 2005 to 2014. The BC Centre for Disease Control carried out a study to identify factors related to…

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Predictors of HIV testing among men who have sex with men: a focus on men living outside major urban centres in Canada

July 20, 2016 by Susan Holtzman, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia Okanagan campus

Background Men who have sex with men (MSM) represent almost half of new HIV infections in Canada each year. However, the vast majority of research on HIV testing among MSM has been conducted in major urban centres. The main objectives of this study were to examine HIV testing rates and factors associated with HIV testing…

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Teen girls: sexual orientation is not always a predictor of sexual behaviour

April 8, 2016 by Marion Doull, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UBC School of Nursing, and Elizabeth Saewyc, Professor, UBC School of Nursing & Executive Director, Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre

Background Previous research has documented that lesbian and bisexual adolescent girls are at higher risk of engaging in a range of sexual behaviours compared to heterosexual girls. Less is known about the behaviours of adolescent girls whose sexual identities fall outside the lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual categories. The purpose of this study was to document…

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Becoming “undetectable”: a significant sexual and psychological milestone for many gay men after their HIV diagnosis

March 22, 2016 by Daniel Grace, Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and Mark Gilbert, Director, Applied Epidemiology Unit, Ontario HIV Treatment Network

Background In recent years, increasing emphasis has been placed on understanding the risk of HIV transmission when the viral load is undetectable and no condom is used. However, limited qualitative research has been done to understand how knowledge of an undetectable HIV status informs gay men’s sexual decision-making. We set out to learn about gay…

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Making the most of a new HIV testing technology

March 8, 2016 by Dr. Mark Gilbert, Director of the Applied Epidemiology Unit, Ontario HIV Treatment Network

There are a lot of new test technologies in the pipeline: both new types of tests in the works, such as rapid syphilis tests or point-of-care HIV viral load testing, and new ways to use existing tests, such as self-testing or online testing. As testing options increase, we need to think about where they will…

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Making sense of HIV window periods

February 25, 2016 by Darlene Taylor, Research Manager, BC Women's Health Research Institute

Testing for HIV can create anxiety for many individuals, especially those who want to know as soon as possible whether or not they are HIV positive. There are a variety of tests that are used to detect HIV; some test for antibodies against HIV while others test for viral proteins and genetic material.[1]  No matter…

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How does WelTel improve HIV+ patient care? Perspectives from care providers.

September 15, 2015 by MCM Murray, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Infectious Disease Specialist, BC Women’s and St. Paul’s Hospitals, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia.

Background Since its introduction in 1996, combined anti-retroviral therapy (cART) has led to enormous improvements in the health and survival of HIV positive (HIV+) persons. However, the success of cART is intrinsic upon patient adherence to therapy; something that many individuals struggle with due to a myriad of structural and psychosocial barriers encompassing the social…

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STI trends among MSM in BC using a novel sentinel surveillance system

April 2, 2015 by Daphne Ling, Epidemiologist, Clinical Prevention Services, BCCDC

Background Case reports are the basis of most sexually-transmitted infection (STI) reporting systems, but reliance on case data alone is limited by an inability to describe trends among key populations, such as gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM).  Sentinel surveillance, in which disease monitoring is done at select sites when…

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