Increase in sexual diseases

SEXUAL health has been thrown into the spotlight after an announcement on Wednesday that chlamydia rates on the North Coast are 40% higher than the state average.

The Northern NSW Local Health Network is highlighting the impact of sexually transmitted diseases and their impact on young people during National Youth Week, which began on April 1.

North Coast area manager of the HIV and Related Programs team, Jenny Heslop, said the rising rate of certain STIs (sexually transmitted infections) among young people had prompted health workers to prioritise the availability of sexual health clinics for young people.

“The 2011 data show 333 cases reported on the North Coast, which is 40% above the five-year average for the same period. Typically, about 75% of reported cases are aged between 15 and 24 years,” Ms Heslop said.

“The good news is that testing for chlamydia is an easy and quick process that requires only a urine test.”

Any GP can do it.

Ms Heslop said people embarrassed by the thought of contacting their GP with the issue could visit a sexual health clinic.

“There’s still reluctance among some people to access GPs due to a variety of reasons, including the ‘embarrassment factor’ as well as fear of stigma and discrimination.

“For these people, sexual health clinics offer free and confidential information, counselling and testing.”

If you think you may be at risk, consult a GP or your local sexual health clinic or call the NSW Sexual Health Info line on 1800 451 624.



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