Background: The objective was to determine trends in age disparities between reported rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and infectious syphilis among younger versus middle-age Canadians.
Methods: We examined age- and sex-specific reported rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and infectious syphilis between 1997 and 2007. Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates in the younger age group (15–29 years) were compared to the middle-age group (40–59 years) over the 11-year period. We used Poisson regression to examine trends in age-specific (younger:middle-age) rate ratios.
Results: Between 1997 and 2007, both the number and rate of reported cases increased for all 3 nationally notifiable STIs. Although chlamydia and gonorrhea rates continued to be higher among younger adults, rates of all 3 STIs increased more dramatically among middle-age adults. Between 1997 and 2007, chlamydia rates increased by 86.8% among adults aged 15 to 29 (P <0.0001) and 165.9% among adults 40- to 59-years-old (P <0.0001). The corresponding increases for gonorrhea were 133.3% (P <0.0001) and 210.2% (P <0.0001) respectively. Infectious syphilis rates increased 5-fold among younger adults compared to an increase of 11-fold among middle-age adults (P <0.0001) since 1997. The reported rate ratios (younger:middle-age) decreased over time for chlamydia (P <0.0001), gonorrhea (P <0.0001), and syphilis (P = 0.005). Males were disproportionately represented among reported chlamydia, gonorrhea, and infectious syphilis cases, constituting 59.8%, 87.6%, and 93.0% of middle-age adult cases, respectively, in 2007.
Conclusions: Middle-age adults may be increasingly affected by chlamydia, gonorrhea and infectious syphilis. There is a need for sexual health information targeting Canada's middle-age adults and their health care providers.