STI on rise in Bundy: Here's your reason to use a condom

WIDE Bay Hospital and Health Service is urging residents to wear condoms after the latest sexual health statistics were released for Bundaberg.

The service's sexual health and HIV service nurse unit manager Fiona Stack said this year to date there have been 130 notifications of chlamydia and 17 notifications of gonorrhoea in the Bundaberg Regional Council area.

"At the same date last year there was a similar number of notifications of chlamydia (145), but this year's figure is an increase in gonorrhoea notifications in comparison to the same date last year (5)," Ms Stack said.

Both chlamydia and gonorrhoea are transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmissible infection (STI) world-wide.

It is also the most common bacterial STI in the Bundaberg area.

The problem could be worse than the statistics indicate because it is only from people tested for the disease.

"These figures only represent people who have been tested for STIs and because many infections do not have symptoms, people do not always seek treatment," Ms Stack said.

If left untreated chlamydia and gonorrhoea can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease in women which can cause fever and pain in the abdomen.

It may require treatment in hospital and can lead to infertility.

In men, chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause inflammation in the testicles, chronic infection of the urethra and may eventually lead to infertility.

"Both of these STIs can be treated, but more importantly can be avoided if condoms are used consistently," Ms Stack said.

"Condoms are the only form of contraception that protects against the spread of STIs and can be obtained free of charge through the Wide Bay Sexual Health and HIV Service (Q Clinic) at the Margaret Rose Building.

"Anyone who has had unprotected sex should be tested for STIs."

Testing is available at the Q Clinic at the Margaret Rose Building or through your local GP. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are notifiable diseases.