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Are you practicing safe sex?

An increase in cases of gonorrhoea has been found in our region. The PHU is advising locals in our region to practice safe sex in a bid to protect their sexual health. Gonorrhoea is a common sexually transmitted infection and largely occurs without symptoms. It can lead to infertility in women if not treated.

The infection can affect anyone who has unprotected sex with someone who has the disease. Some members of the community who are at higher risk of contracting gonorrhoea include men who have sex with men, female partners of men who have sex with men, heterosexual members of both sexes who have multiple partners, travellers returning from a country where the infection is prevalent, intravenous drug users and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Diagnosis is simple with a urine sample and swab test of the urethra, cervix, anus or throat. A positive result will require antibiotics, with symptoms usually resolving within one week.

The best protection against contracting gonorrhoea is to always practice safe sex using condoms and dams, remembering that the infection can be also spread through unprotected oral sex


Are you aged 25 and under? Do you practice unsafe sex or have multiple partners?

You could be putting yourself at risk of contracting the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia. The infection is often referred to as the ‘silent infection’ as most people don’t realise they have it. While not exclusive to the under 25 age bracket, research data would indicate young people are the most at risk of the infection.

If left untreated, the infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, chronic pain and infertility. In men, chlamydia can cause pain and swelling in one or both testicles. Practicing safe sex using a condom and water-based lubricant is the best defence against contracting chlamydia.

Chlamydia is both easily diagnosed and easily treated, often with a single dose of antibiotics. You can be tested either through a simple urine sample or swab from the vagina, cervix, anus or penis.

It is highly recommended for people who are sexually active to have a yearly sexual health check-up.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C causes inflammation and damage to the liver and is most commonly spread through sharing injecting equipment like needles or syringes.

It can also be spread through sharing personal care items with an infected person, the transfusion of infected blood or blood products, coming in contact with blood from an open wound of a person who has the virus and through unprotected sex

In the early stages of Hepatitis C, patients are largely symptomless but as the virus progresses, people can experience a loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes and dark urine and pale stools. There is no vaccine to prevent a Hepatitis C infection, but once diagnosed oral anti-viral medication can be taken to cure it.

Health authorities urge intravenous drug users to ensure they use sterile injecting equipment and to avoid sharing equipment.

It is also essential to ensure tattoo, acupuncture and body piercing equipment is sterile and where possible use single-use gloves to render first aid or clean up blood or blood products. Untreated Hepatitis C can result in liver failure or liver cancer.

Sexual Health Clinic

GV Health’s Meryula Clinic is a free and confidential sexual and reproductive health service.

The clinic offers clients of all ages a safe setting in which to discuss sexual health concerns and receive specialist sexual and reproductive health care.

For information about the services available and how to make an appointment, please visit the Sexual Health Clinic webpage.