National Condom Day calls for Queenslanders to wrap-up
Queenslanders are being urged to spread love, not sexually transmissible infections (STI) this Valentine’s Day and National Condom Day.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said a series of false beliefs and misunderstandings around sexual health were contributing factors to the growing number of STI cases in Queensland.
“In 2017, we saw more than 23,000 notifications of chlamydia and almost 5,000 notifications of gonorrhoea, which is the highest we’ve seen in Queensland in the last five years,” Dr Young said.
“Queensland Health recently conducted market research which surveyed young people aged 15 to 29 on their attitudes and behaviours towards sexual health to gain a better understanding of why these numbers continue to rise.
“The research revealed some incredibly concerning findings, including false beliefs from the majority* of those surveyed, that the contraceptive pill and the ‘withdrawal method’ are effective forms of protection against STIs.
“Although attitudes about using condoms are generally positive, the data also showed that condom use is motivated by a desire to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STI prevention is a secondary driver at best, and for only half of all condom users.
“Despite these misconceptions, only 14 per cent of those surveyed considered themselves to be at risk of an STI.
“The truth is, if you are sexually active, you are at risk of an STI and condoms are the best form of protection from most STIs – this is the message we want Queenslanders to hear loud and clear this Valentine’s Day and National Condom Day.”
Dr Young said National Condom Day was also an opportunity to remind young Queenslanders to book in for a sexual health check.
“Sexual health is an important part of our general health, yet it is something that is often neglected,” she said.
“In Queensland, the statistics show that more than 50 per cent of young people aged 16 to 29 have never been tested for an STI, because they are too embarrassed to talk to a health professional or because they don’t believe they are at risk.
“If you’re sexually active, it is recommended that you have a sexual health check at least once a year, and more often if you have unprotected sex or change partners.
“Most STIs don’t have any symptoms, so you should get a check even if you don’t think anything is wrong.”
*Queensland Health Market Research found 60 per cent of young Queenslanders (15-29 years) surveyed believed the contraceptive pill was a form of protection from STIs, 52 per cent believed the withdrawal method was also.
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