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Jump in STIs alarms health workers

SEXUALLY-TRANSMISSABLE Infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are on the rise across the Darling Downs, with at least 584 confirmed Chlamydia cases this year.

Gonorrhea cases have soared during the past couple of years, jumping from 14 cases in 2009, to 50 this year.

Queensland Health regional co-ordinator for sexual health programs Bill Rutkin said chlamydia rates had increased across the nation over the past five years.

He said people could be unaware they were infected, which could be increasing the number of cases.

"Unfortunately some STIs, such as chlamydia, have few or no symptoms, so an infected person may not even be aware that they are infected, but could be infecting their partners," he said.

Mr Rutkin said chlamydia in particular could have serious long-term effects if untreated, including infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

"Arranging a sexual health check through a GP or local sexual health clinic may be the only way to be sure that a person is not infected, and is especially important when entering a new relationship," he said.

Queensland Health operates 16 public sexual health clinics that provide free confidential screening and treatment for STIs, as well as advice and support on reproductive health, however our nearest centre is Toowoomba.

Education Queensland executive director Sharon Mullins said schools help develop and deliver age-appropriate sexual education material.

"For older students, a sexuality and relationships education program may include information about identity, personal development, relationships and communication as well as sexual health, sexually transmissible infections and safer sex practices," she said.

 

For more information on STIs:

  • Contact your GP
  • Young people can visit the I Stay Safe website at www.health.qld.gov.au/istaysafe.
  • For all of the locations of the sexual health clinics, visit www.health.qld.gov.au/sexhealth/help/default.asp.

Topics:  darling downs, health workers, queensland health, stis


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