Doctors in Blacktown have called for people as young as 12 to be checked regularly for sexually transmitted diseases or risk serious complications including infertility for women.
The latest statistics on sexually transmitted diseases released at the Australasian Sexual Health Conference in Darwin last week show a record number of 82,000 Australians had a positive chlamydia test last year.
Dr Ross Walker, a keen advocate of regular medical check-ups, said he was not surprised there could be hundreds of thousands of undiagnosed cases of chlamydia in Australia.
“We can be very complacent when it comes to regular health check-ups – particularly the younger generation,” Dr Walker said.
‘‘Treatment for a range of medical problems, including STIs, is much easier in the early stages.
‘‘The infection can be cured with a single dose of antibiotics.
‘‘But re-infection will occur unless both partners are treated.
“If left untreated, chlamydia can cause serious complications, particularly for women.’’
Tania Taylor, director of 1stAvailable.com.au, a healthcare appointment booking site, called on people to use her service.
She said it was free to patients, easy to use, convenient and accessible on the internet via your PC or mobile phone.
The Burnet Institute study analysed chlamydia testing for people aged under 25 years from 15 laboratories across Australia between 2008 and 2010.
●They found girls aged 12-15 had the highest percentage of positive tests (13 per cent), compared with females aged 16-19 (12 per cent) and 20-24 years (8 per cent).
●Among males, the highest percentage of positive tests was in those aged 16-19 years (15 per cent), followed by 20 to 24-year-olds (13 per cent) and 12 to 15-year-olds (9 per cent).
●About a dozen 12-year-old girls had tested positive for chlamydia, but 14 and 15-year-olds were more commonly diagnosed in that age group.
●Chlamydia disproportionately affected sexually active young people, with the number of diagnoses tending to decline as people reached their 30s.
●More women than men were affected, particularly in younger age groups.