People in the state’s west have been urged to “protect your sexual health” after a national report found a dramatic increase in rates of gonorrhoea and HIV in certain demographic groups.
The report by the University of NSW’s Kirby Institute revealed the number of Australians diagnosed with gonorrhoea increased by 63 per cent in the past five years, with spikes in the number of men and heterosexual city-dwellers infected.
Regional reports of gonorrhoea increased by 15 per cent, while remote areas declined by 8 per cent.
Rates of gonorrhoea were seven times higher among Indigenous Australians, and three times higher for chlamydia compared with the non-Indigenous population.
Overall, HIV diagnoses have remained the same over the past five years, with 1013 new diagnoses in 2016 compared with 1066 in 2012.
However, HIV transmission among Indigenous Australians has increased by 39 per cent since 2012.
Closer to home, there were five new notifications of HIV in the Western NSW District Local Health District (LHD) in 2016. The number of gonorrhoea notifications was also small, with 46 made in 2016, down from 81 in 2015.
“Because of the very small numbers, it is difficult to see a reliable trend,” Western NSW LHD manager HIV/AIDS and Related Programs, Ann Ryan, said.
“However the findings of the Kirby Institute’s research is a timely reminder that everyone needs to protect their sexual health.
“Your family doctor or the Dubbo sexual health clinic can provide advice on how to reduce your risk of exposure, and arrange testing and treatment where needed.”
For more information, contact the Dubbo Sexual Health Clinic on 6841 2480. People can also seek advice using the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.