New STI awareness campaign launches

Jolyon Attwooll

15/01/2024 4:24:44 PM

The campaign, which is targeting young people, is looking to encourage safe sex and regular testing.

GP and young adult male patient
A new campaign will run for nine weeks, aiming to help reverse a recent increase in STIs among young people.

A Federal Government awareness campaign was launched at the weekend in response to rising levels of sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
Announced by Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler on Sunday, the campaign known as ‘Beforeplay’ will run for nine weeks on social media and online.
The target audience is young people aged 20–34 years, the age range which accounts for the majority of new STI notifications.
The campaign highlights the importance of testing for STIs regularly as well as practising safe sex, and is expected to appear on dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr, as well as in universities, bars and clubs.
There are also materials adapted for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The campaign encourages regular testing through GPs, sexual health clinics, or community health centres.
Minister Butler said one in six Australians will get an STI in their lifetime, and that it has been close to 15 years since the last major Federal Government STI awareness campaign.
‘This latest awareness campaign will just help remind young Australians, and particularly young sexually active Australians, of the importance of using protection whenever you’re having sex, but also the importance of getting tested regularly,’ he told reporters on Sunday.
‘We want to see those infection rates come down.
‘Some sexually transmitted infections, like syphilis, for example, can have very serious long-term impacts on your ongoing health.
‘So, this is the first campaign in 15 years, I think it’s overdue.
‘We’re confident it will help provide the information that young Australians need to go about their lives in an enjoyable way, but do it safely.’

According to UNSW’s Kirby Institute, diagnoses of gonorrhoea have doubled in the past decade, while diagnoses of syphilis have tripled in the same timeframe. Reported cases of chlamydia have also reportedly risen by 12% since 2013.
The Kirby Institute said there were 93,777 chlamydia diagnoses, 32,877 gonorrhoea diagnoses and 6036 infectious syphilis diagnoses in 2022.
Sexual health experts have said low rates of testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the risk of the number of cases continuing to rise.
Further details about the campaign can be found at the Department of Health and Aged Care website.
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chlamydia gonorrhoea sexually transmissible infections STIs syphilis

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