CALGARY — Alberta Health Services hopes a provocative marketing campaign will reduce an alarming increase in sexually transmitted infections in the province.
The $250,000 ad campaign aims to educate young people about safe sex and to promote STI testing.
Health officials say cases of gonorrhea last year in Alberta were up 80 per cent from 2014 and are the highest since the late 1980s.
The number of cases of infectious syphilis in the province doubled over the same time period.
Increase blamed on online dating
The government has blamed the increase on Internet dating sites that make it easy for people to meet for sex.
The campaign features ads on dating sites and social media with messages such as "Get some without catching some'' and "Give her the Big O, not the Oh-No.''
The messaging is intended to get young people to click on the ads, which redirect to a government website called "Sexgerms'' that has information on sexually transmitted infections.
One of the messages from Alberta Health Services' campaign against STIs. (Photo: Alberta Health Services)
Alberta reported 3,400 gonorrhea cases in 2015, with the female rate almost doubling from the previous year. Almost half of the female case were indigenous women.
There were 350 cases of infectious syphilis in Alberta in 2015, with most of the cases involving men who have sex with men.
One quarter of the men in these cases were also infected with HIV. (CTV Calgary, The Canadian Press)
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