UP CLOSE: STIs in Australia, a wrap-up of The Kirby Report 2022

The wait is over. ‘HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual surveillance report 2022‘ by The Kirby Institute is here. We know you’re not as obsessed with STIs as we are, but we wait with baited breath to see how Aussie’s are faring in our collective sexual health. While we’ve read this report from cover to cover over multiple caffeinated beverages to help us focus on all those stats, we don’t expect the same from you. That’s why we’ve summarised the important stuff so you can digest a snapshot of what’s happening down there, Down Under…

Chlamydia is having a moment.. and we want to STOP it.

In 2021, chlamydia was the most frequently notified STI with 86,916 notifications. WOAH. Combine this with the staggering fact that 1/25 people aged 15-29 had chlamydia in 2021, but less that 1/3 received a diagnoses, and we’ve got a lot of chlamydia on our hands! These undiagnosed cases spread through friendship groups, social circles, communities, towns… imagine a web lighting up across Australia. It’s not cool, but it is PREVENTABLE.

Clinical guidelines recommend annual testing (at least) for young people. See, we know our stuff. Testing works. Get sexy, enjoy it, but get tested regularly… your health is important, and so is the health of your sexual partners. 

Now onto Gonorrhoea…

26,577 gonorrhoea notifications in Australia in 2021, with over 2/3 presenting in males. And get this, from 2012-2019 there was a 127% increase in gonorrhoea notifications. Eek.

UP CLOSE: STIs in Australia, a wrap-up of The Kirby Report 2022 -We hate to say it, but Syphilis is back…

This STI used to be the stuff of history and tales from ye olde times where it took out some famous folk including Al Capone, Oscar Wilde, Leo Tolstoy, Beethoven (allegedly) and Abraham Lincoln (allegedly).

Surprising absolutely everyone, syphilis is back and doing its worst. In 2021 (yes, you read that right) The 2022 Kirby Report says Australia had 5,570 infectious syphilis notifications. 81% of those notifications were among males and notification rates were highest among people aged 25 – 29. 

What about HIV?

The number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in Australia in 2021 is 552. That’s more than 1 per day. An estimated 29,460 people were living with HIV in Australia by the end of 2021. These days living with HIV is possible, but prevention is ALWAYS better through regular STI testing and taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).

UP CLOSE: STIs in Australia, a wrap-up of The Kirby Report 2022 -

So what’s the take away? 

It’s all about the ‘T’ word. The Kirby Report tells us, ‘Most STIs remain undiagnosed: Test, Test, Test.We’d put a tonne of !!!!!! at the end of that, but that’s just us… Testing is the best way to curb the spread of STIs in Australia.

The word on the street for STI prevention used to be – just use a condom – but look where relying on people using those got us? Infected, that’s where. While we are all for barrier methods for STI protection, they are not 100% effective and, not always used. Testing is equally important in the quest to stay sexually healthy.

We’re optimising sexual health by utilising ALL AVAILABLE OPTIONS and we’re not shy about it. As your trusted sexual health advocates, think of us at that little voice in your head ready to nag, beg, persuade, cajole, INSPIRE you to get tested & stay healthy 🙂 

(You can thank us later when you’re in the flow of regular STI tests, and you’re living without the angst & worry of not knowing like you used to, and you feel freer about sex and better about your overall health.) 

You can do a deep dive into the Report’s revelations here.