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Chlamydia warning ahead of schoolies period

Catch a wave, not chlamydia. That’s the call from Queensland Health ahead of this year’s schoolies season.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said while it is an exciting time of year for young Australians, the only thing they should be bringing home from schoolies is great memories, not sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

Young issued the warning on the back of new data that revealed only 54 per cent of young people are using condoms every time they have sex.

“We know that STIs are on the rise in Queensland with more than 20,000 cases of chlamydia and almost 5,000 cases of gonorrhoea diagnosed last year,” Young said. “Queensland is also seeing rapid increases in cases of syphilis in young men and women of reproductive age and men who have sex with men."

Prevention is always better than cure, Young reminded future revellers. “The best way to stay protected is by using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex, but our latest data shows almost half of sexually active young Queenslanders aren’t using them every time.

“Of those young people who said they didn’t use condoms every time, 30 per cent said they hardly used them or had only ever used them once.”

Young urged people to get tested after the schoolies season had finished so that they can get treatment if necessary.

“Our research shows only 34 per cent of young Queenslanders have ever been tested for an STI, and what’s even more concerning is that only 14 per cent consider themselves at risk,” Young said.

“We know that many young people are having sex, we just want them to do it safely.”

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