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What GPs can do to help curb rising STI rates

What GPs can do to help curb rising STI rates - Featured Image

Despite years of safe sex promotion, rates of sexually transmitted infections continue to rise and there are concerns infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Gonorrhoea notifications have almost doubled between 2008 and 2012, rates of HIV infection have increased and in 2013, the highest number of syphilis cases was ever recorded.

However in good news, chlamydia rates in 2013 decreased for the first time in 15 years and genital warts in young women is also declining thanks to the introduction of the HPV vaccine.

Dr Catriona Ooi and Professor David Lewis from the Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre say that more needs to be done in a primary health setting to prevent, identify and treat these infections.

They say:  “GPs have an important role in caring for patients with sexually transmitted infections, in educating patients about unsafe sex, and encouraging regular screening for people at risk of infection. The whole community needs to acknowledge and tackle the rising rates of sexually transmitted infection.”

Related: MJA – Gonorrhoea notifications and nucleic acid amplification testing in a very low-prevalence Australian female population

In an article published in Australian Prescriber, they write a detailed update about STIs and what doctors can do to help diagnose and treat them.

According to NSW STI Unit, people should be offered STI screening if they meet the following criteria:

  • Anyone requesting a screen
  • Sexually active people under 29 years
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Sex workers
  • People who inject drugs

Social media campaign for World AIDS day

World AIDS Day was 1st December and Durex used the day to launch a social media campaign “”to create the first official safe sex emoji”, asking users to use #CondomEmoji hashtag.

They said their research had told them that 80% of 16-25-year-olds could express themselves better using Emojis. 84% of young people felt more comfortable using icons when talking about sex.

Durex said it was sending the emoticon to developer Unicode following ‘resounding global support’ for the campaign.

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