Sexual Health Week serves as a safe sex reminder

The cover page of a brochure for the Fremantle Hospital South Terrace Clinic
February 12, 2018

For South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) Sexual Health Physician Dr Lewis Marshall, Sexual Health Week (12-18 Feb) serves as a timely reminder about the importance of safe sex.

Dr Marshall said there had been a significant increase in sexually transmitted infection (STI) presentations across Western Australia in 2017.

Gonorrhoea notifications were 16 per cent higher than the previous 12 months and 56 percent higher than the previous five-year mean. Infectious syphilis notifications were more than double the previous five-year mean.

“Sex is a fundamental, enjoyable thing that everyone does. People need to do it as safely as possible,” Dr Marshall said.

“Using condoms reduces the risk of most STIs but not all, as some are spread from skin to skin contact.

“I encourage the use of condoms as well as reducing the number of sexual partners. With these two measures you are less likely to come across an STI and be infected.”

Dr Marshall was concerned by the increase in STIs and put it down to complacency, condom fatigue and lack of education particularly for younger Australians. 

"Knowing your risks and getting regularly tested is important. A few STIs don’t have symptoms; gonorrhoea in the throat almost never has symptoms and is unknowingly transferred,” he said.

The largest proportion of gonorrhoea notifications, 45 per cent, was amongst 20 to 29 year olds, an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year. There was a 28 per cent increase in presentations amongst 15 to 19 year olds.

The South Terrace Sexual Health Clinic is located at Fremantle Hospital.

The clinic accepts walk-ins on a Monday morning (9.00am-11.30am) and provides a walk-in clinic for those 25 years of age and under on a Wednesday afternoon (1.30pm-4.30pm).