What’s to blame for shocking rise in STIs
A NEW report published by the Kirby Institute shows that there has been a 63 per cent increase of gonorrhoea in Australia over the last five years, with 23,000 people diagnosed in 2016 alone.
Experts are weighing in on the contributing factors such as the rise in popularity and use of online dating apps.
Tinder has previously told pedestrian.com that 15 per cent of Australians are using the dating app regularly. Which is approximately more than three million Australians.
Online dating website RSVP claims that over 1000 new people join the site every day, while eHarmony claims that millions of Australians have used the site to find compatible matches.
Dr Wendell Rosevear, a sexual health campaigner, told news.com.au that people are using online dating and dating apps to have frequent, sometimes anonymous encounters.
"In the past, people would often get a sense of belonging and community with social venues, such as nightclubs, but now some of those clubs are dying because people are becoming more reliant on social media and app connection," he said.
Over the past five years the rates of gonorrhoea has increased to 99 per cent in major cities, but has declined eight per cent in remote areas, the report states.
Chlamydia was still reported as the most commonly diagnosed STI in Australia, with an estimated 154,000 men and 100,000 women aged between 15 and 29 with new chlamydia infections in 2016.
The vast majority of infections in young people remained undiagnosed and untreated, with the report stating that routine testing was needed.
Rates of infectious syphilis increased from 6.9 per 100,000 in 2012 to 14.3 per 100,000 in 2016.
There was also over 3000 new reports of infectious syphilis in 2016, with 87 per cent in males.
HIV diagnosis has remained stable in Australia during the past five years, with 1013 diagnosed in 2016 compared to 1027 in 2015.
Government initiatives that promote and improve access to testing has led to higher levels of awareness among gay and bisexual men, according to the report.
Strategies to minimise HIV transmission among people who inject drugs have also shown to have been highly effective.
In the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, rates of STI's remain higher than in the non-indigenous population with gonorrhoea seven times as high, syphilis five times as high and chlamydia three times as high, according to the report.
Although, over the past four years, gonorrhoea rates decreased by 17 per cent in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
The report also stressed how more health promotion and enhanced testing was needed to tackle the issue.