Worrying trend in youth sex infections

Nurse practitioner Donna Keeley. Picture: Elle Borgward        www.communitypix.com.au   d435156
Nurse practitioner Donna Keeley. Picture: Elle Borgward        www.communitypix.com.au d435156

For Donna Keeley, the need to reduce these numbers has spurred her work at the Fremantle Hospital Outreach Clinic for Young People as the only nurse practitioner in WA who works exclusively in sexual health.

She said the numbers were worrying.

�Statistics show young people are more at risk of acquiring an STI in WA and there are multiple reasons for this, including a lack of knowledge and engaging in risk-taking behaviour,� she said.

�The numbers highlight the importance of targeting young people with education, regular screening and treatment where necessary.

�STIs can have long term effects on reproductive health but they are preventable and most can be treated.�

The Fremantle Hospital Outreach Clinic for Young People, which operates out of Fremantle headspace, acts as a one-stop-shop to target youth with free education, screening, treatment and information about reproductive health.

�Young people do not need to be triaged, reducing their need to repeat information to different clinicians which is important is they are embarrassed or nervous to seek help,� Ms Keeley said.

�People with an STI may not realise they are infected as they are asymptomatic, which is why regular screening is important.

�There is also stigma surrounding STIs which can lead to some people delaying screening, but this clinic offers young people a non-judge- mental and safe environment to be tested, treated and learn about sexual health for free.

�The stigma around STIs is reducing and I hope that in the future this will disappear.�

The Fremantle Hospital Outreach Clinic for Young People operates out of Fremantle headspace every Monday afternoon.

Fremantle headspace is on the corner of Market and Cantonment streets.