Bendigo Community Health Service wants you to get tested.
BCHS is calling for locals to look after their own sexual health after a surge in sexually transmitted infections.
Population rates of gonorrhoea in Greater Bendigo rose by 311 percent, and syphilis by 278 percent between 2012 and 2017.
BCHS Chief Executive Officer Kim Sykes said Bendigo has particularly high rate of chlamydia, and is seeing a rise in cases of syphilis.
Ms Sykes said testing for sexually transmitted infections was easily available at BCHS, with anonymity guaranteed.
Ms Sykes said many people in the community did not know that many STIs were symptomless.
Victoria’s Chief Preventative Health Officer Doctor Bruce Bolam said the increase in STIs had co-occurred with increased social media use, which had seen changes in sexual behaviour.
In 2017 Victoria had the highest number of STIs reported since records began in 1991.
Approximately one in six people will get an STI in their lifetime.
Dr Bolam said the rise was not just an Australian phenomenon, but worldwide.
He emphasised that STIs could often be symptomless, they had a range of long term consequences. These included complications with pregnancy, inflammation and neurological damage, among other problems.
Dr Bolam emphasised that the best way to stop the spread of STIs was to use condoms and get tested.
He said anyone having sex with a new partner, or who did not always use a condom should get an STI test.
“STIs often have no signs or symptoms, and testing will ensure you and your partner don’t have to live with potentially serious, long-term consequences from a treatable infection,” Dr Bolam said.
“It seems a bit ironic in today’s media world… that we can sometimes be quite inhibited when it comes to talking about our sexual behaviour.
“We need to be talking about our sexual health.”
More information at: bchs.com.au/sexual-health-clinic
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.