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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 2 (1991), Suppl A, Pages 9-12
Hepatitis B: Canada's Overlooked STD

Control of Sexually Transmitted Disease: The Canadian Perspective

Paul R Gully

Division of STD Control, Bureau of Communicable Disease Epidemiology, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, Health and Welfare Canada, Tunney’s Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The ability to control a disease depends on knowledge of its epidemiology. Such information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be ascertained by surveillance data involving the analysis of notification reports, as well as laboratory reports, hospital discharge data, and data from sentinel clinics and health units. In the case of sexually transmitted hepatitis B, notification data will probably have to be corroborated by data from sentinel clinics, health units or physicians. A vigorous attempt must be made to elucidate the mode of transmission in acute cases and newly discovered carriers. Appropriate treatment, contact tracing and primary prevention strategies appear to have had some success in controlling gonorrhea and syphilis. Rates of genital chlamydial infection may also be reduced by the same methods. These diseases will, however, persist in certain 'core groups'. Control of sexually transmitted hepatitis B will require a primary prevention strategy of risk reduction, sexual health promotion and immunization. Targeted immunization programs on their own are not Likely to work. Thus, universal immunization will probably be required along with public acceptance of immunization against STDs and appropriate human and financial resources. Reliable surveillance data will be required for program evaluation.