STIs hit record levels in WA

Stock image.
Stock image.

SEXUALLY transmitted infections have reached record levels among 25 to 44-year-old West Aussies, prompting calls from the WA AIDS Council for people to get tested and practice safer sex.

Chief executive David Kernohan said figures show that there were 11,608 cases of chlamydia in the period from April 2018 to March 2019, 3668 diagnoses of gonorrhoea, 479 cases of syphilis, 71 cases of HIV and 505 new diagnoses of Hepatitis B.

“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,” he 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.

“So our message is that STIs are on the rise and practicing safer sex and having regular testing is vital.”

Mr Kernohan said the Council has launched a month-long online educational campaign this month, targeting 25 to 44-year-olds throughout the state to raise awareness for the rise in STI’s.

“The good news is that most STIs are treatable, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, all of which are curable,” he said.

“However the increasing numbers we are now seeing make it clear that many West Australians are not getting the preventive services they need, or do not fully understand their risk or where to go to get tested.”