No glove no love

Free condoms from the Curtin Student Guild Photo: Shenaye Northam.

Syphilis is on the rise in Western Australia, increasing by 6 per cent from April 4, 2019 to March 31, 2020, according to data from the Department of Health.

This is a 40 per cent increase on the last five year average.

Executive manager Rebecca Smith of the Sexual Health Quarters in Perth says gonorrhea and chlamydia are the two STIs with the highest rates in the under 30 age group.

By: Shenaye Northam.

Nurse Sheldon Peake from the WA AIDS Council says even with the reduced screenings from the effects of COVID-19 there is still the same amount of positive STI tests.

Ms Smith says many people may not feel comfortable being tested due to the stigma that is still around STIs.

She says people may also not realise they need a test or how often they need to be tested.

“I would know if I have one,” Ms Smith says.

For many who develop an STI there are no symptoms.

The Sexual Health Quarters were still seeing people throughout the pandemic.

Ms Smith says extra precautions should be encouraged when engaging in sexual activity and people should try to stick to one partner.

She recommends everyone who is sexually active should get tested every year or for every new partner.

Mr Peake says testing depends on the sex life of a person. Yearly is ideal but for more than one parter it should be twice a year or even every three months.

He says if you are concerned about possible HIV exposure you should call the Post-Exposure Prophylaxis hotline, 1300 767 161, within 72 hours.

If you or someone you know has concerns about STIs or sexual health call the Sexual Health Quarters Hotline: 9227 6178 for the metropolitan area and 1800 198 205 for rural areas.

Categories: COVID-19, General, Health

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