19 November 2015

Mobile site gives school leavers instant access to STI testing

WA Health is encouraging school leavers to play it safe during their festivities this year, and if they’re having sex wear a condom. And if they have had sex without a condom take a free online STI test.

Chlamydia is the most frequently notifiable disease in Australia. In the 12 months to 30 June 2015, there were 11,309 notifications of the infection in Western Australia alone – 56 per cent of these notifications were in the 15–24 year old age group.

Gonorrhoea is also highly prevalent, with 2,097 notifications in WA last year.

WA Health Director Communicable Disease Control Directorate Dr Paul Armstrong said there has been a long-term trend of increasing chlamydia notifications, and while recent periods have seen a small decline, the infection is still common among young people.

“We are committed to changing this trend, and have relaunched the couldihaveit website (external site) based on the results of in-depth research into young people’s behaviour and preferences on how they access sexual health resources,” he said.

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

The site 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.

The site is also mobile optimised to allow young people to access the service instantaneously in a way that suits them – even when camping during leavers week.

Dr Armstrong said that while the risk of leaving STIs untreated can cause infertility and serious complications to babies if women still have the infections in pregnancy, testing is really simple, and treatment is easy – usually just a simple course of antibiotics.

“All young people should take sexually transmitted infections seriously and should use condoms. If they believe they may have an STI we urge them to take the simple step of testing, and if necessary treatment – all the information is online and can be accessed discreetly.”

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

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