Over 3189 cases of Chlamydia were reported on the Gold Coast this year.
Over 3189 cases of Chlamydia were reported on the Gold Coast this year.

Queensland's capital for sin, sex and STIs

SEXUALLY transmitted infection rates on the Gold Coast have jumped by over 40 per cent in the past five years, with over 11 new cases reported in the city daily.

Numbers released by Queensland Health reveal that over the last year, 4085 cases of notifiable STI were made on the Gold Coast.

Since 2013 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis on the Gold Coast has risen by 44 per cent, outstripping the region's annual population growth of 2.4 per cent per year.

Though chlamydia was the most common STI with 3189 cases on the coast reported this year, rates of Gonorrhoea and Syphilis (late and infectious) have spiked.


Dr Sonu Haikerwal. Picture John Gass
Dr Sonu Haikerwal. Picture John Gass


In just five years the number of Gonorrhoea cases on the Gold Coast have increased by 117 per cent with, 638 positive cases in the past year.

Syphilis rates also jumped by an astonishing 146 per cent since 2013, with 140 cases of infectious and late Syphilis uncovered in the last year.

General practitioner and past president of the GC medical association Dr Sonu Haikerwal said the increase comes down to a lack of symptoms and bad choices while they are under the influence.


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"It's not lack of knowledge, it's misbehaviour," she said.

"Usually binge drinking and drugs is what is responsible.

"People are more vulnerable when under the influence and don't make good choices."

Dr Haikerwal said many of the notifiable diseases don't have obvious symptoms.

"The problem with chlamydia and gonorrhoea is that they do not have symptoms," Dr Haikerwal said.

"It can be asymptomatic. You can have pain passing while urinating, discharge or have a strong smell, but sometimes you don't have any."

The medical professional said issues like undetected Gonorrhoea could be "very worrying".

Although treatable, each of the infections can have long lasting impacts on health and reproductive health.

"I think that general practitioners and family practitioners are not being used enough to help these patients," Dr Haikerwal said.

"People typically go into walk in centres and have a quick consultant, but if you have had a STI, you need to be checked again in six weeks time.

"STI's run in groups. If you've been tested positive for Chlamydia, it's likely you'll have other infections."

Gold Coast Sex therapist Kerrin Bradfield said the rates were certainly increasing on the coast, and more conversations about the issue needed to happen.

"It certainly comes up both in education and private therapy sessions and it can really impact how people feel about their bodies and sexuality," Ms Bradfield said.

"There is often a lot of guilt and shame for some people when they test positive for an STI.

"Acceptance is a big thing and the ability to talk about it and normalise it in a way that isn't embarrassing will lead to more transparency.

"We don't blame people when they catch a cold but there is a social stigma in all thing related to sex.

"Often the person we are least comfortable talking about sex to, is the person we are having sex with.

"The conversation around STI's is incredibly important particularly in regards to consent so there are broader issues when it comes to a lack of communication."



Chlamydia: 3189

Gonorrhoea: 638

Syphilis (infectious): 114

Syphilis (late): 26

Lymphogranuloma venereum: 4