As teenagers across the state begin to celebrate the end of exams with parties and Schoolies Week, NSW Health’s STI experts are reminding teenagers to stay safe.
According to the NSW STI Data Report 2018, there were more than 30,000 chlamydia notifications last year, an increase of 7 per cent compared to 2017. People infected with chlamydia often do not have symptoms and if not properly treated chlamydia can cause serious complications.
NSW Health’s Acting Director Communicable Diseases, Dr Christine Selvey, said more STI cases are being detected due to increased and better targeted testing, as well as likely increases in the number of infections.
“Condoms are the best protection against STIs, so if you have unprotected sex it is important you see your doctor for testing,” Dr Selvey said.
“Many STIs don’t have symptoms, but are often easy to treat if caught early, so it’s important not to delay testing.”
A useful NSW Health resource for parents and teenagers heading off to Schoolies is the NSW Sexually Transmitted Infections Programs Unit’s NSW Play Safe website: https://playsafe.health.nsw.gov.au.
“While Schoolies Week should be a fun time after the stresses of exams, look after yourself and your mates,” Dr Selvey said.
“This is particularly important if you consume alcohol, as being intoxicated can have significant consequences and lead to increased risk taking like unsafe sex.
“Always keep track of how many drinks you’ve had and remember that mixing alcohol and drugs is dangerous and increases personal risk.”
The NSW Government has committed $22.4 million in 2019-20 to strengthen testing, treatment and prevention with 47 state-funded Sexual Health Clinics also making testing easily accessible.
For information about STI testing and support, call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624 (Free-call).
For information about particular STIs, see the NSW Health fact sheets.
For information about how parents and carers can provide advice to teenagers at Schoolies, click here.