Clap capital: How one particular Aussie region has seen a huge surge in sexually transmitted diseases
- Cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea are rising in Geelong
- This could lead to complications with birth
- Vic gov launches program to combat the surge
Rising cases of sexually transmitted diseases are causing concern among doctors in Geelong, with fears the surge will lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea are returning to pre-pandemic levels in the Victorian region, particularly in women of a child-bearing age.
There were 88 cases of syphilis recorded in the area in 2022 at a rate of 19 people per 100,000, according to data from the Kirby Institute.
This was a sharp increase compared to the 12.7 cases per 100,000 recorded in 2019.
There were also 224 cases of gonorrhoea recorded in 2022, at a rate of 48.3 per 100,000 people, which is quickly closing the gap with the 2019 rate of 55.7 cases per 100,000.
Cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea are returning to pre-pandemic levels in the Geelong region, particularly in women of a child-bearing age (stock image)
Barwon Health infectious diseases specialist Dr Sarah Huffan assured the community that STIs can be prevented by using condoms testing regularly.
‘It is important to protect yourself and others from STIs through the consistent use of condoms, seeking medical attention early if there are any genital symptoms, and keeping up regular testing for asymptomatic STIs for people who are high risk,’ Dr Hufffan told the Geelong Advertiser.
‘If an STI is diagnosed, it is vital to inform sexual contacts so they can be tested and treated quickly.’
Starting this week, STI tests will be provided by Anglesea Medical centre who are in partnership with the Victorian Sexual Health Network (VSHN) to help people manage their symptoms.
The partnership aims to increase the availability of sexual health services across Geelong and will be led by the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.
STIs can be prevented by using condoms and people who have symptoms should regularly test
Asymptomatic testing and contact tracing will be important components of the campaign, according to Anglesea medical practitioner Lucy Dobson.
Helping patients detect potential infections that they might not be aware of will help to recover from the increasing rates of STIs in the shires surrounding Geelong.
A website to help people monitor their symptoms and the urgency that they should seek treatment has been launched by VSHN.