Practise safe sex

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Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) Awareness Month is observed during April.

This is an opportunity for Cape York, Torres Strait, and Northern Peninsula Area residents to consider their risks and take appropriate precautions.

The rate of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis has climbed state-wide and nationally over the past 20 years.

Notifications of infectious syphilis (3 cases to date) in the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service region are on a par with previous year to date numbers.

However, we have seen increases in notifications of chlamydia (217 cases this year to date compared to 103 for the same period last year) and gonorrhoea (69 cases to date compared to 30 for the same period last year), similar to the state-wide and national increases in notifications.

As elsewhere in Queensland and nationally, this is thought to be partly attributed to advances in diagnostic technology and increased testing.

But it is also linked to increases in the use of dating apps and greater access to more sexual partners.

The best way to prevent getting an STI is to use condoms with water-based lubricant.

Condoms, if used correctly, are the most effective way to reduce the risk of contracting an STI whilst also helping to prevent pregnancy.

Having regular sexual health checks is another important part of maintaining good sexual health.

Many STIs do not have symptoms, so the only way to know if you have an STI is to have a sexual health check, including STI testing.

For most sexually active people, it is recommended to get tested at least once a year, but there are situations where getting tested more regularly is advised.

Visit Sexually transmissible infections on the government website.