Public Health Services staff work at a strategic and systems level to improve health outcomes for Tasmanians and particularly those at risk of poorer sexual and reproductive health.
Notifications in Tasmania have increased in the last 12 months
Should you be tested? Are you keeping yourself safe?
In Tasmania by July this year we have already had the same number of gonorrhoea notifications as there were in the whole of 2012.
There have been cases reported in all three regions of the state. Infections have occurred in both men and women but have been more commonly diagnosed in men.
Most gonorrhoea cases diagnosed in 2013 so far have been in men who have sex with men, although about a third were in men who have sex with either gender or with women only. Most people diagnosed were in their twenties but younger and older people have also been affected.
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmissible infection (STI) caused by a type of bacteria.
It is transmitted by unsafe or risky sexual practices including oral, vaginal and anal sex without a condom or dam.
The good news is it is easy to get tested, and treatment with antibiotics is straight forward.
However, not being treated may have long term health effects including pelvic inflammatory disease in women and infertility in men and women.
Gonorrhoea often doesn't have any symptoms, so if you think you may have had risky sex where you could have been exposed, it's very important to be tested as soon as possible.
Here is the link to find out more about gonorrhoea, possible symptoms, treatment, and health risks if you don't seek treatment :
Here is a website link with information on STIs for men who have sex with men:
If you feel comfortable talking to your GP about being tested, make an appointment now.
If you would rather see a specialist confidential service which is free, friendly and non-judgemental, call Sexual Health Services in Hobart; Launceston or Burnie to make an appointment on this toll free number: 1800 675 859
Or on Thursday mornings each week, you can call in to Sexual Health Services at 60 Collins St, Hobart, when no appointment is necessary.
Did you know? – If you have had unprotected sex but you don't have any symptoms of gonorrhoea infection (called asymptomatic), you can ask your GP or a Sexual Health Services nurse about a self-collection swab kit. This means you can collect the swab sample yourself; your GP or Sexual Health Services nurse will explain what to do.
Remember, you can get infected with gonorrhoea through male to male, male to female, or female to male sex. So regardless of who you had unsafe sex with, gonorrhoea doesn't discriminate, and, like other STIs such as chlamydia, and blood borne viruses like HIV, they can only be prevented by using a condom and lube every time.
For your own peace of mind, why not get tested and, if necessary, get treated – and remember, always use condoms and lube so you can enjoy sex worry (and STI) free!