Continued increases in sexually transmissible infections in Victoria is prompting calls for all Victorians to look after their own sexual health and get tested.
To mark the third STI Testing Week the Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging all Victorians to start talking about STIs, to get tested and to seek treatment.
"The last decade has seen record increases in STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, here and across Australia," Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said. "In 2018, Victoria had the highest number of STIs reported since records began in 1991. Over the past two years, Victoria has also seen the re-emergence of congenital syphilis, including two foetal deaths."
Between 2009 and 2018 in Victoria, reports of chlamydia have risen by 88 per cent, gonorrhoea by 452 per cent and syphilis by 252 per cent.
"While this can be associated with more testing, improved testing technology and a growing population, this rise is also linked to changing sexual behaviours," Dr Sutton said. "In particular, social media, dating websites and apps are changing the way we meet, connect and form relationships.
"There are many types of STIs. The good news is most are curable and all are treatable. If left untreated, they can cause long term effects on the body, including infertility.
"STIs don’t care about age, sexuality, income or where you live. If you’re having sex, the best way to prevent STI transmission is to always use a condom – they are the best protection for you and your partner.
It is estimated that around one in every six people will get an STI – and most don’t even know it. STI testing is available from your local doctor, family planning clinics, community health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and specialist sexual health clinics. Tests are quick, easy and confidential. For more information visit The Better Health Channel.