Gonorrhoea is on the rise in Australia. Significantly so. According to research released by the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute this week, notification rates of the ‘silent’ STI increased by 63 per cent between 2012 and 2016.
The ‘Annual Surveillance Report on HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs in Australia‘ found that there were 23,000 cases in 2016, with the biggest increase observed in the 25–40 age bracket.
Well, researchers aren’t entirely sure, but there are some theories.
Associate Professor Rebecca Guy, head of the Surveillance, Evaluation and Research Program at the Kirby Institute, told the ABC there is no concrete evidence to explain the jump: no increased testing, nor data to suggest reduced rates of condom use. Though she noted that it’s been several years since comprehensive sexual behaviour surveys have been conducted.
“There’s some surveys planned next year so they I think will be telling,” she said.
However sexual health campaigner Dr Wendell Rosevear believes that dating apps, and the casual hook ups they can sometimes involve, may be the culprit for the rise in STIs.
“In the past, people would often get a sense of belonging and community with social venues, such as nightclubs, but now some of those clubs are dying because people are becoming more reliant on social media and app connection,” he told news.com.au.