North

Looking for love in the N.W.T.? Remember, there's a syphilis outbreak

With a syphilis outbreak still underway in the territory, the N.W.T. Health Department gave its latest numbers.

The territory reports 51 cases since January 2019

A file photo of a heart on a brick wall. Before you go looking for love, you might want to know about the territory's ongoing syphilis outbreak. (Shutterstock/Andre Cecim)

Those looking for love this Valentine's Day will want to be extra careful — there's still a syphilis outbreak underway in the N.W.T., according to the government.

The territory's Health Department declared an outbreak of the sexually transmitted infection in August 2019, after 28 cases were reported in eight months.

Since then, that number has almost doubled, according to new numbers from the department provided Friday — 51 cases have been confirmed since January 2019.

Syphilis is spread through oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected person and can cause serious health problems if left untreated. It can also be passed to a child during pregnancy.

Syphilis is curable using antibiotics, and treatment is easier if the infection is caught early.

Last year, Kami Kandola, the territory's chief health officer, said the outbreak is affecting mostly 20- to 30-year-olds in Yellowknife who are having unprotected sex, potentially with multiple partners who they may not know very well.