GAY men in Sydney are urged to consider getting an STI test following a rise in gonorrhoea and throat infections over recent years.

According to the research, infections went up from 87 in 2010 to 352 in 2012 while from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012, out of 3132 reported cases of gonorrhoea, 88.3 per cent of the cases were men.

The data was published in the Medical Journal Of Australia by the South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit and used the NSW Health notifiable diseases database to link multiple infection cases with individual patients living in Sydney’s eastern and southern suburbs, and central Sydney areas including the CBD, Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Surry Hills and Woolloomooloo.

Gonorrhoea, which is treatable with antibiotics, is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through oral or anal sex, as well as other sexual practices.

Most infected men have symptoms such as urethritis associated with burning with urination and discharge from the penis. Gonorrhoea of the throat can also be acquired from performing oral sex on an infected partner, usually a male partner.

ACON chief executive Nicolas Parkhill said the rise in cases around inner and eastern Sydney was concerning and suggested gay men in the area should consider a STI and HIV check-up as soon as feasible.

“The more sex gay men have, the more sexual health tests are needed: for both HIV and STIs. All men who have sex with men should have at least one test per year, but men who have episodes of unprotected sex, or have more than ten partners in six months, should have more frequent tests – at least every three to six months,” Parkhill said.

“We know that these rates are likely to reflect a combination of the level of sexual activity in our community, variations in men’s understanding of safe sex practices, and the infectious nature of the bacteria. These factors, when combined with variations in how often health services offer tests, are likely to be contributing to the rise in infections.”

ACON’s rapid HIV testing sites at Surry Hills and Newtown allow clients to also access a number of sexual health tests at the same time, including checks for gonorrhoea.


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