Look, we’re all adults here. It’s 2014. You are free to make your own informed choices about your bodies – more specifically, which parts of yourselves you choose to put in or on the parts of another. You are one-hundred percent free to consensually sleep with whoever you wish to, whenever you want.

Now with that being said, you’re all being gross and unsafe about it and you should be ashamed.

According to an annual surveillance conducted by UNSW‘s Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society, the rate of Sexually Transmitted Infections is on the rise in the country, with some STIs recording diagnosis rates previously unseen – and frankly thought improbable – in this country.

The study found the Syphilis levels in Australia are reaching all-time highs, with a 34 percent increase in notifications since 2009 recorded. The infection is generally regarded as being somewhat “old fashioned” or rare, with detection of it being practically non-existent during the 1990s. But now more than 1760 cases have been recorded – predominantly gay males between the ages of 20 and 39.

The report also found a sharp upswing in the number of cases of gonorrhea, with a staggering 80 percent increase in recorded instances over the past 5 years. The nation’s most prevalent STI remains chlamydia, which had 82,357 new diagnoses in 2013 alone.

The Kirby Institute’s associate professor David Wilson stated that declining use of condoms is a significant factor in this increase of STIs within the nation.

Where we are monitoring data on condom use, we are seeing it decline. We’re not seeing an increase in condom use in any population groups across the country.”

Professor John de Wit of the Centre for Social Research in Health went further, detailing that condom use amongst the gay community – particularly among HIV positive men – is on the slide. 

What we see year-on-year is a smaller proportion of gay men using condoms consistently and that’s related to ongoing HIV infections but also to other sexually-transmitted infections. We’ve found that HIV positive men are less likely to use condoms and so they’re more likely to be affected by STIs, especially syphilis.

The good news, however, is that the research found that the HPV vaccine has been an astounding success since its rollout in 2007, with rates of genital warts in particular having fallen. Whereas before the vaccine was introduced, genital warts accounted for around 13% of all cases from people attending sexual health clinics, now it accounts for barely 1%.

So kids, remember. A good defence is always the best offence. Stay clean. Get yourself tested regularly. And always carry a sly dinger or two.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski via Getty Images.

via SMH and The Coversation.