New cases of the easily-transmissible infection, which can leave women infertile years later, rose by 17 per cent last year to 74,305, a “very concerning” trend Professor Wilson says.
He advises couples beginning an intimate relationship to discuss their sexual history and to have a doctor prescribe a chlamydia test.
“There is evidence we are facing an epidemic of chlamydia among young people.”
Professor Wilson, who heads public health surveillance and evaluation at UNSW’s Kirby Institute, was commenting on latest sex infections figures released today.
They show that three to five per cent of Australians aged between 16 and 25 are infected with chlamydia at any one time.
The figures point to a decline in condom use. But he says if young people are entering a new partnership, “I think it is important they practice safe sex and also discuss testing and previous history with partners.
“They can come up with a solution that works for them, getting tested and treatment if they are infected and then perhaps going to condoms after that,” Professor Wilson said.
He acknowledged it was difficult to say whether many couples would take such steps.
“But I think it is a reality that we are facing. Young people are facing an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections, particularly chlamydia, and it is very easily transmissible.
Because the disease was initially largely symptom-free most men and women did not realise they were infected. Yet the spread of chlamydia had big implications for young women.
“The young women who are infected a couple of times may not care about it in their teens and early 20s but it can lead to serious implications such as infertility and, by the time they reach an age when it is an issue for them, it can be too late.”
Newswarped suggests that nobody gets an STD from holding hands. But this is way too boring for many of todays teens.