Testing for sexually transmitted infections encouraged

Western Australians are being encouraged to get tested for sexually transmitted infections as rates have suddenly increased in the latest health survey.

The latest quarterly report on the rate of STI’s in Western Australia includes 11,608 cases of chlamydia in the period from April 2018 to March 2019, 3668 diagnosis of gonorrhoea, 479 cases of syphilis, 71 cases of HIV and 505 new diagnoses of Hepatitis B.

Speaking to the community newspaper group David Kernohan, the CEO of the WA AIDS Council, said it was important that people were tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections.

“Our message is for West Australian in their 20s, 30s and 40s to get themselves tested for STI’s, including gonorrhea, chlamydia and genital herpes, as in the last year alone WA has experienced the highest STI positivity rates since our records began,” Kernohan said.

“Left untreated, serious infection may occur and can lead to complications such as infertility, severe pelvic pain, chronic prostatitis and in some cases erectile dysfunction, however because not all symptoms are immediately obvious, a lack of testing can contribute to the continued spread of the disease.”

Kernohan said people were being encouraged to get tested for STIs regularly and practice safe sex.

While diagnosis of HIV fell by 24% in comparison to the previous year, there were big increases in cases of gonorrhoea which have risen by 16%, while infectious syphilis cases have increased by a staggering 53%.

Rates of gonorrhoea among men who have sex with other men increased by 33% in comparison to the previous 12 month period, the increase in syphilis among men who have sex with men was 13% higher than the previous 12 months.

During the first quarter of the year 26 new cases of HIV were diagnosed, 13 of these were among heterosexual men who largely acquired the infection during trips to southeast Asia.

A new campaign encouraging people to get testing has recently launched which targets 25-40 year olds.

OIP Staff