Newfoundland and LabradorNewfoundland and Labrador news
Updated: Wed, 05 Dec 2012 17:31:41 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Planned Parenthood out of condoms in St. John's



Planned Parenthood out of condoms in St. John's

Practising safe sex may be more difficult for some residents of St. John's because Planned Parenthood says it's out of condoms.

The lack of condoms at the public health organization comes at a time when sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, are on the rise in the province.

The non-profit group used to receive a free supply of condoms every six months from the company Ansell, who manufactured the Lifestyles brand of condoms.

However, their January shipment didn't show up earlier this year, and later in the summer, the group discovered there was an issue with the June supply.

In September, Costa Kasimos, the executive director of St. John's Planned Parenthood, found out that no more condoms were coming.

The lack of condoms at Planned Parenthood means St. John's is without the approximate 40,000 condoms the group distributes.

"We actually ran out of condoms recently," Kasimos said. "We've been trying to access different programs to replace it."

Increased STI rates in Newfoundland and Labrador

The lack of condoms at a public health organization comes at a time when sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, are on the rise in the province.

Five years ago there were 510 cases of chlamydia in the province.

Last year, that number increased to 689.

Doctor Norman Lee, the chief physician at Memorial University's student health service, just diagnosed his first case of syphilis at the university after being on the job there for seven years.

"I would consider syphilis to be pretty serious," Lee said.

"Untreated, it can lead to multi-organ disease."

Lee said that once syphilis gets into the body, it can affect any body function and mimic other diseases, making it tricky to diagnose.

"An old, old, ancient disease is on the rise that can cause so much trouble," Lee said.

"I'd consider that serious."

Young people afraid of being seen

According to Kasimos, STI numbers may be on the rise because more people are getting tested.

He said that the free condom supply they offered saved young people the cost, and embarrassment, of having to purchase them.

"Price is an issue," Kasimos said. "The other issue is being seen so they don't want to be caught …They don't want to be caught at Dominion or Shoppers."

"They are afraid of who might see them."

Planned Parenthood asked the province for help, but was turned down.

Kasimos hopes another group will step up and help replace the previous supplier.

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