Government of Canada Launches Action Plan on Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections 

News release

Plan will accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, and address barriers to care

July 17, 2019 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Public Health Agency of Canada

Canada has made significant strides in reducing the rates of HIV and viral hepatitis infections, and improving the lives of Canadians who are living with these infections. However, we are seeing a resurgence of sexually transmitted infections in Canada. For example, 44% of people in Canada living with hepatitis C are unaware that they are infected and the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV has risen over the past four years. This is occurring despite our having the knowledge and tools to prevent, treat and, in many cases, cure sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI).

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, spoke at the STI & HIV 2019 World Congress and launched the Government of Canada’s Five-Year Action Plan on Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections to accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat STBBI, and address barriers to care, in Canada.

This follows the 2018 release of the Pan-Canadian Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections Framework for Action, which provides a roadmap:

  • for collaborative and complementary actions to reduce the impact of STBBI in Canada, and
  • to contribute to the global efforts to end AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections as major health concerns.

The priorities of the Action Plan include:

  • supporting community innovation efforts which can also reach the undiagnosed and providing linkages to testing, treatment and care;
  • leveraging existing knowledge and targeting future research to help improve access to testing and support; and
  • reducing stigma and discrimination to promote inclusion and respect.

The Minister also announced funding for several initiatives that support the priorities of the Action Plan:

  • $7.7 million for 29 projects over two years through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Harm Reduction Fund;
  • $5 million over five years for the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory’s newly established Innovative Diagnostics Program; and
  • $32.4 million to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for research grants on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other STBBI.

Quotes

“While we have made significant progress in addressing sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, there is still much work to be done across the country to reduce the health impacts of these infections. The Action Plan will draw on our strengths and leadership as we work with our partners to make a difference for Canadians.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“We know that stigma and discrimination can be barriers to accessing prevention, treatment and support services for people living with, or at risk of, sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. This Action Plan, which takes a whole-of-government approach to addressing these infections, will help us reach our global goal of ending AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections as public health threats by 2030.”

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada 

Quick facts

  • Rates of sexually transmitted infections in Canada have increased over the last decade—chlamydia increased by 49%, gonorrhea by 81%, and syphilis by an alarming 178%.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating the HIV and viral hepatitis epidemics and to reducing the health impact of sexually transmitted infections by 2030, as set forth by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization's global health sector strategies.

  • The Action Plan recognizes that STBBI do not affect all people equally because of differing social, economic and other factors. By taking a whole-of-government approach, the Government of Canada will help to ensure that underlying structural inequalities and determinants of health are taken into account as part of efforts to address STBBI.

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Contacts

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
613-957-2983
hc.media.sc@canada.ca

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866-225-0709


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