16 November 2016

Free online STI test for school leavers

WA Health is encouraging school leavers to play it safe during their end of school celebrations, and use a condom if they are having sex. And if they have had sex without condoms take a free online sexually transmitted infection (STI) test.

WA Health Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus program manager Lisa Bastian said that all sexually active young people should have regular STI tests to defend against common infections, which often do not have any symptoms.

“As not all STIs have noticeable symptoms or signs, people can easily pass on an infection to their partner. It is therefore important that condoms are worn when young people have sex, for maximum protection against infection,” she said.

 “The only way to be sure whether or not a person has an STI is to get tested, so we are urging all young people who are sexually active to take the simple step of testing, and if necessary treatment.”

Chlamydia is the most frequently notifiable disease in Australia. Last year, there were 11,608 notifications of the infection in Western Australia alone. The largest proportion of notifications – 52 per cent – was in the 15-24 year old age group.

There has also been an alarming increase in gonorrhoea notifications reported in Western Australia, particularly in the Perth metropolitan area. In the 12 months to 30 June 2016, there were 35 per cent more notifications than the previous 12 month period, with a total of 2,832 cases reported. Nearly 40 per cent of these notifications were among young people aged 15-24.

Ms Bastian said that WA Health was committed to reducing the number of STI notifications in young people, enhancing its couldihaveit website (external site) to better reflect young people’s behaviour and preferences on how they access sexual health resources.

“The couldihaveit site (external site) offers young people a quick, easy, discreet and free STI self-assessment. If their assessment suggests they need a STI test, they can instantly complete a simple PathWest form, which will serve as a referral to services across WA,” she said.

“The site is mobile optimised and provides clear and simple information about STIs, and offers an ‘ask a question’ service, where health professionals respond to questions confidentially within a 48 hour period.

Ms Bastian said that while the risk of leaving STIs untreated could cause infertility and serious complications to babies if women still had the infections in pregnancy, testing was really simple, and treatment was easy – usually just a simple course of antibiotics.

Visitors to the couldihaveit site (external site) can also go into the running to win tickets to Southbound 2016 by entering a short safe sex quiz.

ENDS

Media contact: 9222 4333

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www.couldihaveit.com.au