STI facts

STI cases are on the rise in Perth. You could be at risk if you've ever had sex without a condom.

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  • Gonorrhoea

    Gonorrhoea rates are on the rise in young people in Perth!

    Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is sometimes called 'the clap'. Gonorrhoea cases in the metropolitan area more than doubled from 2013 to 2017 and continue to increase. One of the biggest increases was among females aged 25 to 39 years.

    Like many STIs, people who have gonorrhoea will often not have any symptoms at all which means it can easily be passed on to other people without knowing. Symptoms of gonorrhoea may include pain when urinating, discharge from the vagina or penis, lower belly pain and more. If gonorrhoea is left untreated it can cause infertility in males and females and a pregnant woman can also pass it to her baby, causing serious problems such as blindness.

    You can get gonorrhoea if you have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, that is, sex without a condom or dam. If this has happened, it is recommended that you have an STI test which will also test for gonorrhoea. See below for information on how to take a free test.

    If the test is positive for gonorrhoea or another STI, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Your doctor will ask you about other people you may have had unprotected sex with because they could also have gonorrhoea. This is called contact tracing.

    You can protect yourself and stop the spread of gonorrhoea by always using condoms or dams and water-based lubricant, limiting your sex partners and getting regular STI tests.

  • Syphilis

    Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is easily spread through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex. Syphilis can infect the genitals, rectum and mouth.

    Syphilis rates are rising in people of child-bearing age in WA, including in the Perth metro area.

    When people first get infected with syphilis they may experience mild, painless ulcers (called chancre). These can appear anywhere on the body where there has been sexual contact, for example on or near their mouth, genitals or anus.

    These ulcers may then disappear for some time – even years – however unless treated, a person will still be infected with syphilis and can pass the infection to others through unprotected sex.

    At first, many people with syphilis will not get any symptoms at all. This means that you can't tell if someone has syphilis and you may not know if you have syphilis yourself unless you get tested.

    As the infection progresses, other symptoms, like fever, headache, rash, hair-loss, swollen lymph nodes, hearing-loss, wart-like lesions or visual disturbance can occur. This can cause serious long-term complications for your health.

    If a pregnant woman gets syphilis, her baby can have life-long disability or be stillborn.

    Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics – the earlier the infection is found, the easier it is to treat.

    It's important to protect yourself and others from getting syphilis by wearing a condom for all kinds of sex, including oral, vaginal and anal sex.

    If you have unprotected sex – even oral sex alone, or if you have any symptoms, see your GP or attend a sexual health clinic to get tested as soon as possible.

  • Chlamydia

    Chlamydia is the most common STI reported among young people in Australia. Most people don’t realise they have chlamydia because they don’t see or feel that anything is wrong. Without knowing it, people can pass it on to their sex partners.

    For those who get symptoms, females may notice a burning sensation when passing urine, an unusual vaginal discharge and pain in the lower belly. They might not notice anything until they try to get pregnant and then realise they are infertile because of scarring in the fallopian tubes caused by chlamydia.

    Males may notice whitish or yellow discharge from the penis, burning or pain when passing urine and irritation or soreness around the opening of the penis. If chlamydia is left untreated it can spread to the testes and cause infertility.

    A pregnant woman can also pass chlamydia on to her baby, causing serious eye and lung infections.

  • Take a free test

    If you think you may be at risk of an STI take the online risk self-assessment

  • Other STIs

    More information on other STIs, such herpes and genital warts can be found on Healthy WA

Stay Safe You Mob

Should I get tested?

For more information on safe sex and respectful relationships, visit Get the Facts (external site).