Number Of Sexually Transmitted Infections Has Exploded In Parts Of Australia
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Millions of Australians heeded the warnings about the coronavirus pandemic and isolated in their homes.
We were warned about the dangers of having unnecessary contact with people outside of your immediate household. That meant no sex, no hook-ups, no kissing, no anything with random people.
However, recent figures have found that these measures haven't stopped people from spreading sexually transmitted infections.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service looks after people in Queensland, from Mackay to the Whitsundays and also in remote communities like Clermont, Dysart and Middlemount.
The service has recorded nearly 350 cases of chlamydia, 90 cases of gonorrhoea and eight cases of syphilis through the region from January to 31 May this year.
It's unknown when the cases spiked, so it's unclear whether these infections came during lockdown.
The Daily Mercury reports that the figures for the first half of the year for gonorrhoea are eight times higher than the five year average. Syphilis rates were double compared to the average and there were nearly 50 more chlamydia cases.
Mackay sexual health and sexual assault service nurse practitioner Donna Pini told the Mercury: "The reason for the increase still remains unclear. [But], it is too early to say what influence the coronavirus restrictions are having on these trends, which started well before the pandemic.
"It is important that anyone who is sexually active to be tested for STIs, especially if you have had a new casual partner or recent partner change."
Last year alone, there were 849 cases of chlamydia, 170 cases of gonorrhoea and 11 cases of syphilis in the area.
But it's not just Queensland that has seen a spike in STIs over recent.
Dating apps have been blamed for a rise in sexually transmitted infections in Adelaide heterosexual people between 2012-2017.
A new study, published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases, said the annual gonorrhoea transmission rates have jumped 153 percent, and infections were the highest in low income populations and within high-risk populations.
Dr. Emma Miller from the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University said: "The significant increase in gonorrhoea notifications in 2016 and 2017 in our study were found to be associated with young heterosexuals.
"Changes in sexual behaviour have occurred with the emergence of dating apps which have become a part of single life during emerging adulthood.
"The rapid emergence of internet technologies has facilitated the identification of potential partners in convenient geographic proximity and resulted in a change in social rules which govern young people's sexual behaviour, thus increasing the likelihood of STI transmission."
So please, wear the appropriate gear when having sex and know your health status. Get regular check ups if you're sexually active and make sure you tell all sexual partners if you have tested positive for anything.