QUEENSLAND Health is urging lovers to ‘wrap it up’ with a condom to avoid gifting their partners with a sexually transmissible infection (STI) this Valentine’s Day (Night).
Senior Medical Officer of Communicable Diseases Dr Jonathan Malo said recent Queensland Health market research had found 30 percent of young Queenslanders aged 15 to 29 hardly ever used protection.
More than 23,000 people contracted chlamydia in Queensland last year, while almost 5000 were diagnosed with gonorrhoea.
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“Nationally and in Queensland there are high and increasing rates of STIs,” Dr Malo said.
“If you’re aged 15-29 years you are at the highest risk of contracting an STI.
“Condoms used together with water-based lubricant are the best way to protect yourself and your partner from these infections, as well as other STIs, yet our research shows us that not everyone is using them.
“Our data shows us that condom use is mainly motivated by a desire to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STI prevention is a secondary driver at best, and for only half of all condom users.
“Our research also showed that the majority of young people had never been tested for an STI because they were too embarrassed to talk to a health professional or because they didn’t believe they were at risk.
“If you’re sexually active, it is recommended that you have a sexual health check at least once a year, even if you don’t have any symptoms.
“Quite often people will not realise that they have an STI and could be unknowingly passing it on.
“By educating yourself, wearing protection and having regular sexual health check-ups you can be frisky without the risky.”
Queensland Health recently launched a series of new sexual health animations, including ‘how to put on a condom’, to help educate Queenslanders.
“The animated videos cover specific STIs and how they affect the body, as well as topics including emergency contraception, the reproductive cycle, and what to expect when you have a sexual health check-up,” Dr Malo said.
“Not all young people are the same and the same goes for their sexual and reproductive health needs, which is why we have created some animations specifically showing the impact of STIs on the male anatomy versus the female anatomy.
“These animations are just another way we can communicate with Queenslanders who are looking for information online and encourage them to not only wear condoms, but to book a sexual health check.
“Queenslanders can get tested for STIs through their local general practice, sexual health clinic, or some community health services.”
To watch the animations, click here.
For more information on sexual health checks, click here.