Sex diseases on the rise

By Tate Papworth

A surge in sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Brimbank is prompting calls for locals to look after their own sexual health and get tested.

Department of Health and Human Services deputy chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said there had been a spike in the number of people infected.

“The last decade has seen record increases in STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, here and across Australia,” he said.

“In 2017, Victoria had the highest number of STIs reported since records began in 1991.”

Between 2012 and 2017 in Brimbank, diagnosed cases of gonorrhoea have risen by 91 per cent and syphilis by 100 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.”

He said it was vital for people to get tested.

“If you’re having sex with a new partner or don’t always use a condom, it’s recommended that you get an STI test.

“STIs often have no signs or symptoms, and testing will ensure you and your partner don’t have to live with potentially serious, long-term consequences from a treatable infection.”