"Unless we invest a lot in prevention, I think it's going to be like that for many more years," said Steben."They are younger, they have more partners, they are not always protected," said Thomas.There are now more than 23, 000 cases of chlamydia in Quebec -- triple what is was 15 years ago."We're doing a lot of screening, we're doing a lot of treatment we're doing more than we ever did in the past, and still those numbers are going up," said Steben.His concern is that the rise of 'hookup culture' fuelled by smartphone apps like Tinder and Grindr has led to an explosion in STD transmission."We have a lot of problems with people searching for partners on the internet or through apps, where people don't neccessarly understand the importance of protecting themselves from STI's," Steben said. They are being spread throughout suburban and rural Quebec as well, thanks to the ease of finding new sexual partners.
"If you have between 300 and 500 HIV cases each year in Quebec, for me, it's very high," said Thomas.Doctors would like to see more schools in Quebec teach sexual education, but the province is still working on a pilot project to teach teenagers the basics.A study by Quebec's Institute of Public Health is raising concerns over sexually transmitted diseases.The infection rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are all on the rise in Quebec. Rejean Thomas works at L'Actuel medical clinic in the Gay Village, and said patients are now coming in every day with a syphilis infection.
"We have a syphilis case every day here, at Actuel, and before we had three syphilis [cases] in all Quebec," he said.Thomas said those between 15 and 24 are most at risk.