A syphilis outbreak in South West since October

A syphilis outbreak in WA prompts a sexual health campaign. Image by Shutterstock.
A syphilis outbreak in WA prompts a sexual health campaign. Image by Shutterstock.

Western Australia's new Healthy sexual campaign is all about preventing, testing, treating and talking to minimise the personal and social impact of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

With outbreaks of infectious syphilis occurring in metropolitan, regional and remote parts of the State and notifications rising over the past five years, it's a timely reminder to be aware of and talk about sexual health.

In 2020, notifications of infectious syphilis in WA were 26 per cent higher than the previous year.

The Department of Health's sexual health and blood-borne virus program manager Lisa Bastian said outbreaks of STIs over much of the State had placed populations at risk and prompted a more mainstream prevention campaign for the general community.

She said an outbreak that started in the Kimberley region in June 2014 had spread to the Pilbara in February 2018 and the Goldfields in January 2019.

Separate outbreaks were declared in the Perth metro area in August 2020 and the South West region in October 2020.

Ms Bastian said many people would get an STI in their lifetime. They often had no symptoms and if left untreated, caused serious long-term health issues.

"This campaign is one of the strategies we are using to raise awareness around syphilis and other STIs," she said.

"TheHealthysexual campaign also promotes consent and healthy, respectful sexual relationships by encouraging all sexually active people to talk to their partners about safer sexual behaviours."

Testing for an STI is simple and the only way to be sure you don't have an infection. A simple urine, swab or blood sample is often all that is needed.

Testing can be accessed from general practitioners in all parts of WA and Aboriginal community-controlled health services.

For more information, visit healthysexual.com.au

This story A syphilis outbreak in South West since October first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.